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Object Mediated Interaction

Xiyi Wu

Xiyi Wu is an UX and product designer. He is experienced on applying hybrid design strategy of user-centric research and agile process in contemporary product design. His works focus on enhancing user experience via communicating the social and behavioural values of products.


- The Exhibitionist, Royal College of Art, 2019.

- NSG Hackathon, NSG Group, 2019 - Runner-up. 

- CHOICE OF LIVES, Fountain of Hygiene, Bompas & Parr, 2020 - Shortlisted. 


- UX Researcher, Nio Automobile, Shanghai.


+44 7904902431




Degree Details

School of Design

Object Mediated Interaction

What does a design mean to us?

As a former civil engineer, I used to design for problem-solving. Then I came across Naoto Fukasawa’s idea of Super Normal in contemporary design: a soya sauce dispenser, a chair or glass cup in different shapes…designs which have formed the important parts of our lives unconsciously. I realized this is my design I want, to find this interdependence between us and the objects.

Project MoreThanWriting observes this relationship between the human and the written language, as a tool of interpersonal communication. It highlights a fundamental paradox in the paradigm of persuasive product design: the phenomena of emotional capitalism, to manipulate user experiences and behaviors via technology and products. Rather than offering tool for fixing, the collective experience tries to communicate such behavioral impacts of product would impose upon us. It facilitates us to question if we can ever communicate our true feeling, and more importantly, make conscious choices for living. 

By rethinking, and reframing this question in new context, it seeks for discussions and possibilities to inspire new thoughts. And it must be achieved through interaction, for us to feel the story behind with time and gradually find the new norm.

And I invite you, to find it together. 

To observe, to materialize, to interact.

MoreThanWriting - A Postcard Printing Machine — A traveller replies to his friends, with the postcard printing machine to convey his environmental situation and intimate emotions.
Video Still

Video Still — Digital mass media has standardized and commoditized the production of written text, with features of auto-prediction and emoji, in conveying intimate information.

In this post-literate era, when written text is no longer the dominant medium of communication, how might we reimagine the experience of textual communication to reconnect us with the benefit of human inputs?

MoreThanWriting experiments a digitally augmented interaction of textual delivery, to explore the intimate experience of interpersonal communication: A portable postcard printing machine, which deploys a sequence of IoT devices to translate the environmental situations and mental dynamics of the writer into the transformed typographic features of a Helvetica-based typeface, being printed on the customized postcard.

The typographical prototypes were developed and validated via investigative user researches. Its modular, layered composition can be distorted to form symbolic patterns, which abstracts the fluctuation of meta-presentations and their mental influences on the writer. Like our natural communication contains many layers of conceptual message, it recovers the senses of intimacy in each letterform for the receivers to feel the story and character behind.

Based on social report and interview, the scenario of postcard writing intends to highlight the phenomena of emotional capitalism in mass media, to manipulate the human experiences and behaviours via technology and products. The objects recall a portable writing desk, and ancient stamp typologies, both in form and interaction, to reveal this alienated and commoditized relationship with the production of written language in conveying intimate information.

The collective experience mediates a new role of text tool and technology, to encourage users to engage with the meaningfulness of interpersonal interaction: retaining the diversity, yet ambiguity of meaning in social relationships. Just like our written words.

MoreThanWriting | Introduction


Fictional Film | PLA | Arduino Kits


3 months
augmented realityinteractionIoTspeculativetextual communicationtypographyuser experience
Typographical Dynamics — refers to the phenomena of interacting with diary objects, which tells the same symbolic message.

Investigative Workshop — samples of graphic illustrations, to use symbolic messages to express contextual information, such as weather condition and mental state, of the participates in their written text.

Prototype Iteration — based on a Helvetica family, a neutral modernism design of typeface.

Interaction Mapping

Using graphic evidences gathered from real user experiments, the typeface is then developed based on a Helvetica family, given its background as a san-serif, neutral modernism design.

The typographical dynamics refers to the phenomena of interacting with diary objects, which would express the same environmental or mental aspects, by embedding symbolic messages in written text.

MoreThanWriting | Typographic Iteration

Machine Interaction

Machine Interaction — apply mirror metalic finishing for the machine.

IoT Interaction

IoT Interaction — activate the device by applying force on the capacitors.

IoT Interaction — translates the temperature variation into color gradient.

IoT Interaction — translates the light lux into color opacity.

IoT Interaction — translates the wind velocity into angle of italics.

IoT Interaction — translates the mental states into letter highlighting.

The objects recall a portable writing desk, and ancient stamp typologies, both in form and interaction.

Each device has the unique pattern for force capacitors to indicate the functionality, and signify the kind of interaction to activate it.

With different levels of abstracted information in mind, metallic mirror finishing is purposed for the printing machine to reflect the real environment around, but also ourselves as we use it. Like our written words.

MoreThanWriting | Physical Interface
22 July 2020
16:00 (GMT + 0)

Design Products Team Talk: OMI Verblist

Read More
23 July 2020
13:00 (GMT + 0)

When The Place Shuts Down: Clara Gaggero Westaway

A series of conversations between students, tutors and industry leaders about design products.

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