Domestic widgets: Leveraging household creativity in co-creating data physicalisations

The home environment is a complex design space, especially when it has multiple inhabitants. As such, the home presents challenges for the design of smart products. Householders may be different ages and have differing interests, needs, and attitudes towards technology. We pursued a research-through-design study with family households to envision and ‘co-create’ the future of data-enabled artifacts for their homes. We have iteratively developed domestic research artefacts for these households that are open, data-enabled, physical visualizations. These artefacts - called Domestic Widgets - are customisable in their design and functionality throughout their lifespan. The development process highlights design challenges for sustained co-creation and the leveraging of household creativity in (co-creation) research toolkits. These include the need to allow and inspire iterative customization, the need to accommodate changing roles within the home ecology, and the aim that such design should be inclusive for all family members (irrespective of age and technical proficiency), whilst maintaining a role and purpose in the home. We invite the RTD community to critically discuss our, and other, open and iterative end-user designs for sustained co-creation. By presenting unbuilt and interactive pre-built Domestic Widgets, we interactively foster engagement with practises of sustained co-creation.