The first quarter of the senior year just started. In this class, I am going to practice how to make a critical decision through a quarter long design practice. As the subtitle of this class is “Research through Design (RtD)”, I started my first step for the class with two articles explaining RtD with different perspectives.
- What Should We Expect From research Through Design? (Willam Gaver)
- Research through design as a method for interaction design research in HCI (John Zimmerman)
Both articles are talking about how to approach to RtD for better and preferred results. However, Gaver insists design research should avoid unified and rigor opinions or ideas to respect more diversification for a new and fresh point of view for results. Contrarily, Zimmerman asserts that design research community should try to formulate where design and design research really fits into the HCI. Because definitions of design and design research in HCI were ambiguous without clear boundaries. In my point of view, finding out how to keep to the middle way of both two perspective of RtD is important. In terms of mathematical analysis, if there are too less constrains, a project will have too many of answers that actually cannot be considered as solutions. On the other hand, if there are too much constrains, a project may cannot has a solution at all. Thus, neither over-constrained nor under-constrained is a preferred way. However, a meaning of finding moderation can be also conceptual and complex! I expect that I can find more acceptable way to solve this in the near future in the class.
<Figure 2. An illustration of the pathways and deliverables between and among Interaction Design Researchers and HCI Researchers. The model emphasizes the production of artifacts as vehicles for embodying what “ought to be” and that influence both the research and practice communities. >
This diagram from Zimmerman’s article gave me a great inspiration and an answer that I have wondered about interaction design. It shows where the interaction designers are placed in the whole picture of HCI.
The diagram shows the inputs and outputs of interaction designers. This diagram can be subdivided into two parts. Left part shows the corporative and iterative research process that happens in between engineers and interaction designer, anthologist and interaction designers, and behavioral scientist and interaction designers.
This diagram puts interaction designers in the center of the picture. Knowledge from different areas are integrated and then affect other areas afterward. As a result, interaction designers come up with new knowledge that has not been introduced to the world yet. Interaction designers create artifacts that represent the new knowledge they discovered. These created artifacts affect HCI practitioners. Dotted wavy line represents the barrier between the research knowledge and practice. This barrier exists because interaction designers do not try to solve a single practical problem. Instead interaction designers come up with solutions of a frame of a different problems. Since feasibility is not considered, some of the artifacts may not be able to be applied to practice.