Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 125–134

Understanding contexts by being there: case studies in bodystorming


DOI: 10.1007/s00779-003-0238-7

Cite this article as:
Oulasvirta, A., Kurvinen, E. & Kankainen, T. Pers Ubiquit Comput (2003) 7: 125. doi:10.1007/s00779-003-0238-7


A thorough appreciation of physical, social, interactional, and psychological contextual factors is crucial in the design of ubiquitous computing applications. This paper investigates the benefits of a method called bodystorming for carrying out design sessions in the original context, `in the wild', instead of the office. A location is selected that is identical or similar to the original environment. Innovation, carried out on-site, is based on ethnographical data presented as concrete design questions. Individual solutions to design questions are brainstormed and discussed on-site. Facets of data collection and preparation, formulation of design questions, selection of locations, session administration, and evaluation of design ideas are presented. We found that bodystorming permits immediate feedback for generated design ideas, and can provide a more accurate understanding of contextual factors. Bodystorming sessions were found memorable and inspiring. It is best suitable for designing for activities that are accessible and unfamiliar to the researchers.


Bodystorming Brainstorming Context:Context-awareness Ubiquitous computing User-centered design 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antti Oulasvirta
    • 1
  • Esko Kurvinen
    • 1
  • Tomi Kankainen
    • 1
  1. 1.Helsinki Institute for Information TechnologyFinland

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