Context Dependent Services / Research project at UC Berkeley

Problem Statement

How can we support leaning of implicit contextual knowledge required to appreciate some services?

Research Method

Publications Research, Field Activity, Interview, User Groups Definition, Role-Play Ideation, Video Ethnograpy, Lo-fi and Hi-fi Mockup


Augumented Reality, Projected Installation

Design Process
Project Outcome

Design Process

Research Description

I worked on this project as a graduate student researcher with Professor Kimiko Ryokai on Interactive Applications Design for Context-Dependent Services.
Have you ever seen Ikebana, Japanese traditional flower arrangement? Do you know how to interpret details such as shapes, angles, and flower combinations? Like Ikebana, there are services that require knowledge to understand and appreciate their value. The knowledge is usually acquired through interactions with experts in situation learnings and the process can take many months or even years in some cases. In this research project, I work with my professor to analyze and evaluate implicit contextual knowledge in Ikebana, then conceptualize application design that support users’ seamless learning of Ikebana principles and boost perceived service value. We are developing a few prototypes that can improve service value as well as scalability of context-dependent service.

Field Activity, Interview, Video Ethnography

To understand meaning and deciplines of a cultural artifact (Ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement), I conducted field activities and interviews in quasi master-apprentice model/settings. In addition to it, we used video ethnography and verbal protocol to analyse patterns in cognitive process, physical behavior, and psychological reaction of both experts and novices of Ikebana.


I sketched various ideas throughout the iterative design process incorporating feedbacks from many experts in the field.

Project Outcome

To analyze how body matters in art appreciation process and how experts and novices use their body differently in engaging with art objects, we conducted studies with 22 art experts and novices of Ikebana and abstract art. In both types of art, we observed interesting patterns; experts engaged with the art from multiple perspectives while exhibiting minimal movements, while novices hovered around the art looking for clues of interpretations or did not move at all due to lack of interest. We found that actively moving one's body doesn't necessarily translate to actively interpreting and appreciating art, and vice versa. As an implication for better design, we suggested an additional frame of reference using expert and novice specific differences in moving their body. We published our findings in ACM CHI 2015 as a case study.

"Artistic Distance: Body Movements as Launching Points for Art Inquiry"