HCI Prototypes and Knowledge Contribution

In HCI/interaction design research, much of our work is prototype-driven. We explore new concepts through the design of new interactive systems. Still, as a field of research we lack documented methods for examining the relation between design ideas and design manifestations although this ability to examine if a design (idea) is new and novel contribution to our field of research is crucial. This paper contributes to this need by proposing ‘generic design thinking’ as a first step towards a method to move from ideas and designs to classes of conceptualized designs. In short, a method for examining designs as knowledge contributions in HCI/interaction design research. We argue for this suggested method through two examples including 1) how one such method can be used to analyze and conceptualize existing designs, and 2) how one such method can be useful for working with new concepts, and the generation of new knowledge through design. We conclude with a discussion on how our initial sketch of one such method can facilitate systematic knowledge development in HCI design research.


Wiberg, M. & Stolterman, E. (2014). What Makes a Prototype Novel? – A Knowledge Contribution Concern for Interaction Design Research. In Proceedings of NordiCHI, 2014.