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HCI Student Wins International Competition

Project “Automotive Mobility and Future Services”
HCI Student Wins International Competition

Nuno Laginha (HCI student) Nuno Laginha, a Professional Masters student in the Human-Computer Interaction program (MHCI) in the Carnegie Mellon | Portugal Program, was recently recognized by the Service Design Network and Volkswagen AG for his project “Automotive Mobility and Future Services.”

On October 26th and 27th, 2009, Laginha attended the Service Design Conference in Madeira, Portugal, where he was awarded first place in the Service Design Competition. The conference was hosted by the Service Design Network (SDN) and sponsored by Volkswagen.
SDN was founded in 2004 by the Köln International School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Linköpings Universitet, Politecnico de Milano / Domus Academy, and the agency Spirit of Creation. It is a collaborative organization whose goals are to establish and maintain a body of knowledge in the field of service design.
As stated on the SDN website, the purpose of the competition was to find new services that address today‟s changing mobility needs. Project submissions were to consider questions such as “Which social aspects of mobile lifestyles and (virtual) communities benefit from automotive services? Which services do you miss in vehicles and what would such services look and feel like?”
For Laginha, the most enriching aspect of the project was the user feedback and the field research he used to formulate his design solutions. He says that the research and methods he applied during the design process allowed him to “uncover relevant information and find opportunities instead of assuming them.”

“We go to the field in different stages of the process to investigate, evaluate, design, iterate, and implement,” says Laginha. “Through these processes, I was able to extract the driver‟s real needs and work on them to create sustainable and supportive solutions.”

Laginha says that his coursework in the MHCI program gave him “the needed tools to successfully solve this design problem.” He also points out that the program has consistently provided him with the opportunity to enact the same design process that he applied to his Service Design Competition project.

Nuno Laginha Project

“The MHCI allow us to develop the capacity to deal with large amounts of data and stay focused on what is relevant regarding the final objective,” says Laginha.
“This Master program presents us challenges of this caliber daily,” he says. “We develop the capacity to deal with large amounts of data and stay focused on what is relevant regar-ding the final objective.”
“I am grateful that companies like Volkswagen AG recognize more than ever the importance of HCI,” says Laginha, “and especially Service Design: Developing products and services for the future.”
As first prize winner, Laginha was awarded 1000€ as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to the conference in Madeira, where he had the opportunity to present his project. In addition, Laginha was introduced to participating Service Design practitioners, academics, and service-focused companies from all over the world. His project will also be featured in a future of Touch-point, the Service Design Journal.
Laginha holds a BA in Communication and Multimedia Design from the Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, and is concluding his Professional Masters in human-computer interaction (HCI).

December 2009