Raphaël de Courville, Interaction Designer and Co-Founder of NEEEU: this is my job

Raphaël de Courville, Interaction Designer and Co-Founder of NEEEU: this is my job

This week we interviewed Raphaël, Interaction Designer and Co-founder of NEEEU. He explained us how what led him to become an interaction designer and what are the challenges a creative professional has to tackle with these days. 


Can you tell us why you define yourself as an interaction designer, a creative technologist and a media artist?


I began my career as a graphic designer, and I’ve gradually become more involved with digital media. Over the last ten years, I’ve had a hand in everything from interactive installations to virtual and augmented reality development, all the way to user research and even hardware prototyping.


I believe most creative professionals are increasingly called to adopt a variety of roles beyond their initial field of study.
When this happens, the traditional labels and boundaries between disciplines tend to fade out. This is especially true at a studio like NEEEU, where we practice a hybrid form of human-centred design that borrows methods from engineering, media arts and creative technology.


What led you to choose this career path and to start your studio?


I was always fascinated by the interplay between art, science, design, and technology.
Over the years, I’ve had the chance to work with artists, computer scientists, linguists, curators and writers, among others. These collaborations have been the most valuable, and have expanded my understanding of what it means to be a designer.
The growing relevance of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, or physical computing to the field of design make this interdisciplinary approach all the more indispensable.
This is one of the main reasons that motivated us (Javier Soto, Raffael Ziegler and myself) to start NEEEU. As a studio, we identify opportunities in emerging tech and human behaviour, to help our clients navigate this new world where digital and physical realities collide.


What do you like the most about your job?


I feel incredibly privileged to come to the office everyday to a team of some of the smartest and most creative people I’ve ever met. Not to mention we get to work in the most amazing locations.
We recently ran a research project on using Augmented Reality to enhance the visitor experience at the Gemäldegalerie, one of the most prestigious classical painting museums in Europe.
As jobs go, spending your day chatting with world-class curators in a room full of Boticelli’s is hard to beat.


What are the main challenges you face?


It can be challenging to appropriately communicate the importance of a human-centred design process at every step of the work.
When dealing with the uncertainty that inevitably arises in any project, the temptation can be strong to lead with solutions or jump into problem-solving mode, forgetting the importance of research, observation, and insights.
Keeping your mind open to playful exploration and fortuitous discovery in the first phase of the process is also crucial. 


What are the tools you find indispensable in your job?


Post-its, Sharpie’s, and Unity3D.


How do you think your role will evolve in the future? Which skills will you need and how do you stay abreast?

As voice assistants, mixed reality, and connected objects are gaining popularity, the smartphone is slowly losing its position as the main computing platform.

Eventually, our digital life will look less like a wall of apps on a touchscreen, and more like one seamless connected experience that isn’t bound to any single device, but instead flows organically to fill the spaces around us.

There is a world of difference between a smartphone app you can close and forget, and an experience that follows you around and embeds itself in every moment of your life. This kind of intervention calls for a deeper and broader understanding of people’s values, desires, and circumstances.

Beyond technological considerations, designers need to familiarise themselves with ethical, behavioural, spatial, and even architectural questions. The next decade in design is going to be very exciting.



Find more on NEEEU at:

Website: http://neeeu.io/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/neeeu_io

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/neeeu_io/

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