Professor Preben Henson of Stockholm University Delivers Lectures on User Experience and Product Innovation Design

Editor: Yu Liu     Time: 2018-12-20      Number of visits :0

In the winter 2018, Professor Preben Henson from Stockholm University opened an original course on User Experience and Product Innovation Design.


In the first class, Professor Preben Henson introduced himself and his research work. From different theoretical perspectives, he discussed the definition of interaction and experience, which explores the boundaries between human-computer interaction and other disciplines, and how a good experience process should be arranged and designed. In the following lessons, students conducted a small storyboard exercise by looking for words that describe “Interaction”. They experienced a brand new way of thinking.


In the course homework, the students started to explore social issues associated with “light”. Using tenkeywords about “Quality” that were given, they engaged in brainstorming, divergent thinking and worked on group projects. During the discussion, Professor Preben Henson specifically emphasized that the focus of this course is on the issuing and solving of problems and challenged students to come up and manage their solutions. He offered detailed suggestions for everyone's opinions.

After a series of intensive lectures, the eight groups of students completed brainstorming, physical production and course presentation. In the last lesson in Crescent Building Room 522, Mr. Preben insisted on listening to the last group’s presentation even though it was already past 6pm. The enthusiasm for discussion continued and his teaching spirit touched the students.


Waiting Lamp

Members: Yang Mingsen, Zhang Bosen, Ding Ruotong, Feng Shoubo, Wu Yue, Wu Xinke


This group designed a behavior-sensing lamp tackling the problem of urban workers returning home without companionship. Using changing light as a companion, the light reduces the loneliness that the user faces in the dark room. A flashing light indicates a greeting, a stroke action indicates a turnout, and a living room headlight is turned on to illuminate the room. These are meant to create a loved and cared experience for the user. As humanity stands on the curve of rapid development of science and technology, interpersonal boundaries are becoming increasingly divided, and social fatigue and loneliness follow. What people need is to put down the equipment, get out of the house, and exchange ideas face to face.



Members: Gao Xiaoguo, Qian Wangjun, Hu Shijia, Yang Yaoying, Zhou Zhiyi, Zheng Hanjia


Inspired by the nightmare-devouring creature Yumekui, this group designed a sleep light for children aged 3-5.They explainied children of this age are at the stage of imaginative development and are therefore prone to having nightmares. The characteristic of a nightmare experience is that the subject suffering from sleep disorders is easily awakened and difficult to fall asleep again. Children will wake up in their sleep and need to be taken care of. However, children at this age need to be separated from their parents and sleep alone, so how do we help them independently handle themselves when they are wakened by nightmares? YUMEKUI uses light to accompany children in a weak interaction and participates in children's sleep experience from both emotional and physiological levels. The light source is set to 590-750mm red orange light, which can stimulate the natural secretion of melatonin and increase sleep quality. When a wireless bio-radar detector UWB on the lamp detects that the child has awakened in the middle of the night, the brightness slowly rises to the extent that it can illuminate the entire room, so as to dispel the darkness and calm the child's initial function. It then continues to work as a LED indicator at 10 lux to 0 lux until the child falls back asleep again.


The students completed a large portion of their project in a short period of time and displayed keen perception and deep insightson social phenomena. Their modesty and diligence were highly acknowledged and praised by Professor Preben. A handy tool makes a handy man, as students of the industrial design department, it is necessary to learn the “tools” (model establishment, hardware implementation, etc.) in order to build a solid foundation and competitiveness.A tool must first be learned before it can serve its purpose. Through the study of this course and project practice, we have better returned to the problem itself. We benefited tremendously by further “learning the tool”, that is, solving a problem in a practical sense and creating a better experience and service through the shaped products.


Student talked about their thoughts after the course:


Zhang Bosen: Through conversations with Professor Preben, we gradually understood that we need to pay attention to the relationship between lights and users on the basis of design. Using our group’s own theory, we describe this as boyfriend-girlfriend theory. Are you looking for someone who loves you, or someone you love? Someone who needs your help or someone who helped you? Someone who compliments you, or differs from you? Different relationships produce different values. This is the quality we are looking for: what kind of experience do we want to give the users? Then, under the guidance of this quality, we have designed a lamp. It may not be special in shape and function, but it can benefit users emotionally and experientially. Just like the other half, she or he may be not too tall, even a little fat, not very handsome or beautiful, not very capable, but the two of you together can make time very enjoyable. Finding the most suitable one is not necessarily the best.


Yang Qiqi: When sharing our project with Professor Preben (a sleep light that helps babies adapt to darkness), he told us about the companionship of the mother’s heartbeat in the baby’s sleep. That was very touching, and we thought it could be the main function of our project. After identifying this main feature, the other design parts became more organized.


Gao Xiaoguo: Compared with the impetuous mentality we had before, Professor Preben taught us a calmer, more orderly and down-to-earth approach to designing. We are not judged by the result, but the correctness of the design process.I was very impressed with this course.


Zhou Jiahuan: My understanding of “problem mining” became deeper. Our team spent most of the time on the definitions of 'Problem', 'Quality' and 'Value'. After that, the specific design of the product came more smoothly and naturally, and the so-called good start is half of success was probably the case with this design.


Yang Mingsen: I gained some further thoughts about human itself.“Emotional need” a simple but blunt topic. Designers tend to give an emotional needs program that satisfies their own cognition when they come up with ideas. But Mr. Preben can pinpoint the deficiencies and offeradvice from another perspective using his rich and delicate perception of life. In this area, sympathy and empathy are extremely important. How to make others feel our beautiful vision, not just at the level of the designer, is worthy of careful consideration in the process.


Ye Huizhong: The professor emphasizes that it is not necessary to judge the quality of the display content, but to understand and generate their own opinions. I think that this principle is very gentlemanlike, and students often encounter the situation that their idea is being judged by the people around them. More often, we need not only judgment, but new directions for the expansion and deepening of this program. Sadly, many students view “being judged” as normal, and even take the initiative to find capable people to judge their own ideas. The principle that the professor repeatedly emphasized made me realize that everyone's views and efforts need to be respected.


Gao Tian: The most frequently asked question by the professor was: Do you have any question? Every time he finishes a topic, he will repeatedly ask us this, and when the students react with their usual silence, his eyes would flash doubts, uncertainty and worry. I know what the professor is worried about. A few minutes of explanation introduces us to a new concept. It may take us longer to absorb this knowledge, and it should trigger some questions in the students' minds. The professionalism that the professor demonstrated at this point made me very moved. We should be more proactive in class and not just accept passively. I tried to ask one or two questions in the course. I felt very happy because the professor was gratified every time.


If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.” We are very moved by the students’ genuine exploration and care of society, people and humanity, their in-depth thinking on human empathy, and reflection on current design education. The designer's practice and products can bring help, care, encouragement and hope to the public. It is an ordinary but remarkable thing to give people hugs when they are frustrated.

In the following classes, let us look forward to the lectures by Dr. Keoun Nah (aka Ken Nah), a famous professor at Hongik University in South Korea. Professor Ken Nah has been a judge for the Red Dot Award: Design Concept since 2009. He is currently a professor of design and business management at the International School of Design at Hongik University in South Korea and a director of Human Experience and Emotion Research Lad.

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