Case Study: “Hair meets Design”: The Application of Storytelling in the Context of Long-Distance Collaboration and Virtual Teamwork

RIVERA-CHANG, Jose (2009). Case Study: “Hair meets Design”: The Application of Storytelling in the Context of Long-Distance Collaboration and Virtual Teamwork. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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Virtual teamwork and long distance collaboration is an increasingly attractive option in design education especially when students and other participants, (for example, industry guests or sponsors) cannot meet in the same physical place or classroom.

The constant improvement in technology allows this type of electronic communication to be increasingly accepted as an appropriate format for collaboration and evaluation of student projects.

This paper discusses the collaboration between members of a company in Germany and a group of industrial design students in California. It will present the work flow, the evaluation tools and the formats introduced during the process.

Since the participants of this project could not meet physically to discuss and evaluate ideas, it was imperative for the teams to develop standard visual formats that were easy to understand and re-utilize. These formats had to be flexible enough for the purpose of adding comments from the evaluators.

Because the physical presence of the presenter is missing, it is necessary to adjust the content and layout of the messages in order to make them more relevant and self-explanatory. The message has to be easy to understand without the help of a presenter or lecturer.

One of the most significant questions in this project was how to present multiple “layers of information” in one single image at the same time (for example, how to depict work flow, time sequence and object hierarchy in one single frame).

In a normal situation (where the presenter is physically present in front of an audience) he/she can verbally add secondary information that would not be visually included but it is necessary in order to understand the relevance of the image being presented. This additional verbal information could be related to time, hierarchy, etc.

This paper will discuss the development and evaluation of visual formats that present multiple layers of information in one single image. It describes the methods used and reports the solutions. Ultimately, this paper explains the relevance of using storytelling in the context of long-distance design collaboration.

Virtual Teamwork; Long-Distance Collaboration; Storytelling; Infographics

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:46

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