Danielle Oprean, PhD, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Penn State University
Peter Lusch, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Penn State University

Design communication relies on a designer’s ability to represent and present design ideas through multiple forms of visualization. From images to movies and now even virtual reality, designers are beginning to capitalize on newer forms of representation and subsequently in their presentations. With the digital medium becoming more prominent in the design disciplines, it is necessary to consider how representations across multiple modalities (visual, audio, etc.) can be presented in a digital format that is cohesive. So, how do we support presenting multiple forms of visualization? We build on our early development of a multi-modal interface to explore this question and what the implications are for multiple design disciplines. A proof-of-concept interface for exploring the potential of multi-modal presentations was developed earlier and has being further improved for intended use in design courses using a large-screen display that is virtual reality capable. This portion of this development research focuses on understanding student designer use of the alpha-version of the interface, where not all functionality such as loading student work into the interface are working. For this study, we focused on the role of student designer perceptions of the ergonomics of a large-screen display where the interface is being used and the perceived usefulness of the developed interface. We captured student interactions with the interface in its current state through simple user tests and asked students to elaborate on their perceptions of such a tool. We will present on the challenges faced by the sample of students engaging with the interface and how preliminary take-away from the study will be used for improving the interface.


Danielle Oprean is currently a post-doctoral research fellow in the Stuckeman School and Chorophronesis at the Pennsylvania State University.Her background is in 3D visualization and its intersection with human-computer interaction. She focuses her research on the relationship between immersion and presence and how that relationship is fostered through embodied experiences. Her work is highly interdisciplinary and allows for the study of different forms of technology to apply to different spatial and design applications. She holds a BS in digital media visualization and a MS in Engineering Technology  from East Tennessee State University, and a MA in Architectural Studies Design with Digital Media and a PhD in Human-Environmental Studies from the University of Missouri. 

Peter D. Lusch is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design in the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Penn State. He instructs advanced and introductory courses in typography, studio design, and experience design processes and methods. Lusch has active research in design pedagogy, user experience design, and applications of technology and design for global humanitarian solutions in the developing world. He has studied and worked internationally with Shanghai University, China. He holds a B.F.A. from Eastern Michigan University, and a M.F.A. from Michigan State University.