Last week I was invited to the 6th Student Interaction Design and Research Conference, this year at the Umeå Design Institute. It was a great event and I had the chance to do both a workshop on "Design Judgment -- how to become a good designer" and a keynote presentation on "Designerly Tools". The students, from several design schools in Europe, were great, they asked good questions and participated in the discussion.
I also had the pleasure of listening to Heather Martin from the design company "Smart Design" (the Barcelona office). She gave a great presentation on the nature of design.
My presentation on designerly tools is based on a couple of studies that I have done with some students were we have interviewed professional interaction designers about what tools they use in their design process, and particulaly how they make their choice of tool and why. We define tools quite broad, anything that a designer can use in the process (pen, whiteboard, software, etc. but also any kind of method, technique, theory, approach, etc). It is interesting to see how and why designers do select their tools and it was clear that the students did recognize the results and I think they confirmed our findings, at least if based on their nodding and smiling :-)
It is also clear that how designers select tools is an important aspect of the design approach that has not been enough studied and I think our results are therefore really interesting for both researchers and practitioners in the field.