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Gerold Schneider:

An adversarial interface design pattern to support ideation

Academic Advisor
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)


This project has identified a software user interface design pattern that captures the essential nature of problem oriented ideation processes and possibly improves their outcome and efficiency by providing mechanisms to overcome common problems encountered in such processes. In particular creative block, the blank page, loss of focus and methodical constraints. As far as the yet limited evaluation of the pattern through a prototype implementation and a hand full of expert inquiries allows valid inference, its utility is clear and demonstrable. Of particular note seems to be the observation that the pattern does not formulate or enforce a particular method or paradigm but instead provides just enough structure for the user to feel secure while being exible enough to become an extension of any users personal method. It is therefore well received by users that generally reject method-driven creativity. In contrast to existing tools (offline and online) this pattern seems to resolve all critical issues that constrain productive use (constrained space, problem-solution mismatch, cost of complexity, overhead), leaving only issues that could improve its standalone e ectiveness and complement value through integration into existing workflows. The pattern appears to be fairly agnostic in terms of ideation subject matter, even as far as being adaptable to tasks ancillary to ideation like note-taking, collecting materials, sharing and browsing materials, documenting, sense-making and clustering.

The pattern reaches its limits where users are unfamiliar with concepts of creativity or have little experience in solving problems creatively. The pattern cannot overcome inherent lack of creativity or disinterest in solving a problem. As a pattern aimed at design, its complementary value when integrated in production tools is unclear.