Monday, November 03, 2008

Theory Informing Design

As I am preparing class for tomorrow I am once again reading Yvonne Rogers chapter on "New Theoretical Approaches for Human-Computer Interaction". And as usual when I read this text I realize how well it serves the purpose of initiating and establishing a discussion on the role of theory in interaction design practice. Rogers manages both to analyze existing theoretical attempts and to present some empirical material on how much, if at all, these theories are used by practicing designers. She also comes up with some ideas on why this is the case and also presents some suggestions on how to improve the situation.

In the same class I also use my own paper "The Nature of Design Practice and Implications for Interaction Design Practice" in International Journal of Design. This paper is to a large extent based on the chapter by Rogers. The main argument is that design research aimed at improving design practice has to be grounded in a deep understanding of the nature of design practice. Underlying this is a critique of most theory development as being not enough interested in practice. Instead these attempts are based on intellectual developments grounded in an idealized understanding of design.

I find this to be an intriguing topic that is not enough recognized in HCI research. There is a need for a more developed understanding of the role of theory, different forms of theories, theories for different purposes, practical theories, etc.

More theorizing!!

1 comment:

UsableImage phd blog said...

I have recently re-read the paper "The Nature of Design Practice and Implications for Interaction Design Practice" and I was particularly intrigued by the argument. I do very much agree with the argument and has so made me very much conscious of the communication process in my own research work.

I also feel I am benefiting with the research process being embedded within in a real world software development process, in order to heighten my awareness of practitioners needs.

My question from the paper lies in what can interaction design learn from other and more established design disciplines that have made this transition?

Design complexity as discussed is not anything new, I am interested to hear how have existing and more established design practices have been able to bridged the gap between research and practitioner? Or is this a challenge that all design practices are facing and have been for some time?

And would Donald Schon work be the best reference for finding further information about this?

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