Environments: The Future of Interaction Design

Session Title

Environments: The Future of Interaction Design


Kendra Shimmell, Lextant

Session Type: Presentation

What is the future of interaction design? I propose that it’s movement — natural, fluid interactions — your body interfacing with the environment around you.

As an interaction designer, I understand the inherent drawbacks of hardware-based interfaces — the range of movement is limited and it is frankly kind of lame to be bound to a device.

In 2001 I became involved with the Environments Laboratory at The Ohio State University. Our focus was to explore movement analysis, motion capture, and interactive performance. Since then, I have befriended a few choreographers that have been developing very sophisticated tools to explore the reality of the human body as interface.

Some questions that I’ve been exploring:
Can we obtain meaningful data on human motion? Is there a design research implication? What are the potential industry applications for this type of technology? Can gesture and movement be standardized (Laban Movement Analysis and American Sign Language)?

Join me in exploring the human body as interface. You will get to try it out (yes, control light and sound with your body), and I will lead you in a workshop to explore the more practical use cases for such a technology moving forward.


My unique combination of skills allows me to move fluidly between design research and interaction design. While at lextant, I have worked on diverse projects including health care systems, retail environments, medical devices, financial service design, and enterprise management applications.

I am responsible for both account and project management, however my true passion is in designing solutions that resonate with consumers. I’ve been told that I have an innate ability to immerse myself in the consumer’s domain. My sensitivity to both implicit and explicit communications between people, artifacts, and context of use allows me to excel in identifying patterns, breakdowns, and opportunities.

On the client level, my goal is to align interdisciplinary teams around a common goal by facilitating communication across the disciplines of marketing, business, design, and engineering. I have established productive partnerships with companies such as Cardinal Health, CheckFree, Cordis, Dell, Diebold, Hewlett-Packard, Hollister, Hunter, Moen, Nationwide Insurance, and GE Healthcare.