Creating languages for screenless everyday objects

At Method, we have seen a growing need for physical products to be able to communicate independently of screens. As part of the IxDA15 Conference, we set about solving a set of problems and roadblocks that have inhibited us from designing non-screen based products in our practice.

Building off of prior experimental work, a tool was created that allows any designer a mechanism to tighten the design process loop. The team successfully designed, developed, and manufactured a tool nicknamed ‘Henri’ (Hardware Enhancing a Natural Responsive Interface) that creates languages for objects and removes the noise of interactions.

Henri has generated significant attention in the press, including featured articles in FastCompany, Wired, and Fusion.

Increasingly, we are creating experiences for objects with no screens, but are still richly woven into our lives. Our traditional design tools have never really allowed us to understand this opportunity nor to protoytpe or explore, so we created Henri, a prototyping tool that allows designers to create light and sound patterns in real time without the need to code.

Laura Ascenso, Marketing Lead, Method



Because we tested Henri’s capabilities in a workshop setting, the experience as well as the tool had to be approachable with a low-barrier entry.


The participants needed to come together, become familiar and comfortable with the tool, and understand its value in a very short period of time.


Real-time testing by potential users in a controlled setting is an important tool in determining the efficacy of a new product, service, or tool.

Working on HENRI was incredibly rewarding, bringing together all of the disciplines to imagine future approaches to designing products.

Paul Cloutier, Principal, Method