Design is today seen as a successful approach for the development of new, innovative and creative interactive products and services. There are many attempts at improving the interaction design process, especially by developing new approaches, methods, tools and techniques that would support interaction design practitioners. However, not much research has been done to examine what design methods practitioners actually use, why they use them, and how they understand methods. At the same time, there is almost no research examining the intentions, goals, principles, and thinking guiding those who develop new design methods.
Our research is therefore focused on an overlooked aspect in the field of human centered interaction design, namely how design-practitioners understand their own practice, their design process and how they evaluate, select, and adapt design methods (approaches, methods, techniques, and tools) for their own design process needs.
Our research consists of:
- analytical studies of existing design methods,
- analytical studies of HCI research results presented as “implications for design,”
- interview studies with practitioners about their understanding and use of design methods,
- interview studies with design method developers, and
- theoretical and conceptual development on the nature of design methods and their use.
Our intention is that our research will contribute to the theoretical understanding of contemporary interaction design practice. The merit of the research is that it will be firmly grounded in empirical examinations of existing practice and in analytical studies of existing methods.
Overall, we anticipate that our results will lead to an increased general understanding of design practice, and to increased predictability and impact in method development that will make method development more targeted and adapted to the reality and expectations of practitioners which will lead to more used and more useful design methods. With more appropriate design methods, these results will increase the probability for more creative and innovative designs of interactive artifacts and systems.