Design Methods

Designerly Tools


An assumption behind this paper is that research aimed at improving interaction design practice is not as successful as it could be. We will argue that one reason for this is that the understanding of what constitutes designerly tools is not enough recognized among those who propose new tools for interction design. We define designerly tools as methods, tools, techniques, and approaches that supports design activity in way that is appreciated by practicing interaction designers. Based on a two empirical studies, we have developed a framework and a way of studying designers and their tools. We discuss some insights about what characterizes designerly tools and what kind of implications these insights might have for the further development of tools aimed at supporting design practice.


Stolterman, E., McAtee, J., Royer, D. & Thandapani, S. (2008) “Designerly Tools”, DRS Conference, July, Sheffield, 2008. [Paper]


  • Erik Stolterman, School of Informatics, Indiana University
  • Jamie McAtee, School of Informatics, Indiana University
  • David Royer, School of Informatics, Indiana University
  • SelvanThandapani, School of Informatics, Indiana University