Studies

Locating the Emerging Design Identity of Students Through Visual and Textual Reflection

Reflective activities have the potential to encourage students to develop critical skills and awareness of mental models. In this study, I address the emerging identity of early design students as they externalize their evolving conceptions of design through visual and textual reflection. Forty-three students in an introductory human-computer interaction (HCI) course completed weekly textual reflections on a course blog, and completed visual reflections at the conclusion of each of three projects. The weekly blog reflections were intended to document their experience as a developing designer, while the visual reflections represented their personal conception of design within HCI-their rendering of the “whole game”. Through this process of reflection, students externalized their transformation as designers, including an awareness of the pedagogical, social, and cultural factors shaping them, and a growing sense of their personal and professional design identity. Through interviews and additional analysis of eight of these students, a disjuncture was found between conceptions of design in visual and textual reflections, with visual reflections forming a professional, generic design identity, and textual reflections more congruent with the student’s personal identity. Issues relating to lack of representational skill and how these forms of reflection externalize a student’s evolving design philosophy are addressed.

Publication

Gray, C. M. (2014). Locating the Emerging Design Identity of Students Through Visual and Textual Reflection. In Proceedings ofDRS 2014. Design Research Society: Umeå, Sweden.

Reprioritizing the Relationship Between HCI Research and Practice: Bubble-Up and Trickle-Down Effects.

There has been an ongoing conversation about the role and relationship of theory and practice in the HCI community. This paper explores this relationship privileging a practice
perspective through a tentative model, which describes a “bubble-up” of ideas from practice to inform research and theory development, and an accompanying “trickle-down”
of theory into practice. Interviews were conducted with interaction designers, which included a description of their use of design methods in practice, and their knowledge and
use of two common design methods—affinity diagramming and the concept of affordance. Based on these interviews, potential relationships between theory and practice are explored through this model. Disseminating agents already common in HCI practice are addressed as possible mechanisms for the research community to understand practice more completely. Opportunities for future research, based on the use of the tentative model in a generative way, are considered.

Publication

Gray, C. M., Stolterman, E., & Siegel, M. A. (2014). Reprioritizing the Relationship Between HCI Research and Practice: Bubble-Up and Trickle-Down Effects. In Proc. of Designing Interactive Systems. New York, NY: ACM Press.

Sketching Design Thinking: Representations of Design in Education and Practice. Design and Technology Education

Research on design pedagogy has shown that students progress through a variety of barriers on the path to becoming a successful design practitioner, and that frameworks for explicit reflection can be beneficial to the development of design students. Schön uses the concept of reflection-on- action to describe one form of reflection on design practice, with the eventual goal of improving design processes and judgment. In this study, sketching is
used as a form of reflection-on-action in a first semester intensive course in interaction design (IxD). This sketch reflects the student’s current understanding of the “whole
game” or holistic view of design in IxD. Current practitioners in IxD companies were asked to draw the “whole game” sketch as well. Parallels among the sketches
and areas of divergence are discussed. In summary, students shifted from abstract, linear representations of process early in the semester to more concrete, iterative
representations by the end of their first semester. Practitioner sketches were more abstract and linear, but also included representations of business terminology and
design teams. We propose a preliminary model of change in expertise, which documents the shift in a designer’s visual representation of their process as their expertise
increases over time. Implications for changes in design pedagogy and avenues for future research are discussed.

Publication

Gray, C. M. & Siegel, M. A. (2014). Sketching Design Thinking: Representations of Design in Education and Practice. Design and Technology Education, 19(1), 48-61.

Can there be scientific theories of design that do not scientize design?

This paper asks, Can there be scientific theories of design that do not scientizedesign? And it answers in the affirmative. Not only can there be scientifictheories of design that do not scientize design but also that a scientific lens can potentially reveal important aspects of the design process. We apply KarlPopper’s criteria for the scientific status of a theory to four seminal theories ofthe design process: Bounded Rationality, FBS Framework, Figural Complexity, and C-K Theory. We demonstrate that (1) some theories about design can beconstrued as scientific in Popper’s terms, and that (2) these theories do not“scientize” the design process

Publication

Beck, J., & Stolterman, E. (2015). Can there be scientific theories of design that do not scientize design? In the Proceedings from the European Academy of Design, Paris Descartes University, Paris, 22-24 April.

The Nature of Design Practice and Implications for Interaction Design Research

Abstract

The focus of this paper is interaction design research aimed at supporting interaction design practice. The main argument is that this kind of interaction design research has not (always) been successful, and that the reason for this is that it has not been guided by a sufficient understanding of the nature of design practice. Based on a comparison between the notion of complexity in science and in design, it is argued that science is not the best place to look for approaches and methods on how to approach design complexity. Instead, the case is made that any attempt by interaction design research to produce outcomes aimed at supporting design practice must be grounded in a fundamental understanding of the nature of design practice. Such an understanding can be developed into a well-grounded and rich set of rigorous and disciplined design methods and techniques, appropriate to the needs and desires of practicing designers.

Publication

Stolterman, E. (2008). The nature of design practice and implications for interaction design research. In International Journal of Design, 2(1). [Paper]

CHI and DRS Cumulus

Members of this research project will present paper at both CHI and DRS Cumulus these coming weeks. It is exciting that our studies have led to papers that hopefully reflect some of our work so far, even though it still feels as if we are in the early phases on our research. We are getting almost overwhelmed with the potential richness of the field that we are studying–design practice is distinct but elusive, universal but particular, common but unique. It is fascinating to see how our attempt of framing design practice and particularly its relation to theory, methods and tools, faces a number of contradictions and dilemmas. This complexity can of course be seen as a research problem but I think it is instead possible to see it as something extraordinary that has to be approached carefully, with an open mind, and with a sensibility towards its richness, complexity, and inherent contradictions. You can find the papers that will be presented at these conferences on the publication page.

Pattern Language and HCI: Expectations and Experiences

Abstract

Pattern Language (PL) has been researched and developed in HCI research since the mid-80s. Our research was initiated by the question why something like PL can create such enthusiasm and interest over the years, while at the same time not be more widespread and successful? In this paper, we examine the experiences and expectations that HCI researchers who have been involved in PL research have had and still have when it comes to PL. Based on the literature review and interview studies, we provide some overall reflections and several possible directions on the use of PL in HCI.

Publication

Pan, Y. & Stolterman, E. “Pattern Language and HCI: Expectations and Experiences”. CHI 2013 alt.chi (Juried). Proc. of CHI’2013. ACM: New York. [Paper]

Presentation

Collaborators

  • Yue Pan, School of Informatics, Indiana University
  • Erik Stolterman, School of Informatics, Indiana University

Design Tools in Practice: Studying the Designer-Tool Relationship in Interaction Design

Abstract

This paper presents findings from semi-structured interviews with professional interaction designers. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between interaction designers and their design tools— specifically the reasons behind their choice of tools. The findings show that the relationship between designers and their tools is more complex than commonly assumed. The paper argues that a deeper understanding of the complexity of the designer-tool relationship can make a difference for both education and practice.

Publication

Stolterman, E. & Pierce, J. (2012). “Design tools in practice: Studying the designer-tool relationship in interaction design”.  In DIS 2012, June 11-15, 2012, Newcastle, UK

Collaborators

  • Erik Stolterman, School of Informatics, Indiana University
  • James Pierce, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

Student Goes on a Journey; Stranger Rides Into to the Classroom: Narratives and the Instructor in the Design Studio

Abstract

Enthusiasm is growing in non-traditional environments for teaching design by adapting knowledge and approaches from studio pedagogy, described as a “signature pedagogy” by Shulman in 2005. Meanwhile, those in fields where some variation of studio pedagogy have been used for decades are engaged in addressing some of its experienced shortcomings. Within this landscape of change, the authors have been engaged in study of their own studio-based courses, (interior design, instructional design, and interaction/experience design), reflecting on how this form of pedagogy is contributing to students’ development as designers. In this study we consider the role of the instructor in the studio using a lens informed by narrative aesthetics and transformative education. The narrative that an instructor encourages students to experience with regard to themselves, to the instructor, or to both, has a profound impact in the studio environment. This paper will explore that impact within the context of the authors’ own courses via review of course notes and collaborative reflection with colleagues.

Publication

Boling, E., Siegel, M., Smtih, K., Parrish, P. (2013) Student Goes on a Journey; Stranger Rides Into to the Classroom: Narratives and the Instructor in the Design Studio. DRS // CUMULUS 2013. 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers. Submitted for Publication.

Collaborators

  • Elizabeth Boling, Indiana University
  • Marty Siegel, Indiana University
  • Kennon Smith, Indiana University
  • Patrick Parrish, World Meteorological Organization Geneva

Building the Narrative Cloud: Reflection and Distributed Cognition in a Design Studio Classroom

Abstract

Education in Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCI/d) aims to instill a human-centered perspective among its students, encouraging a designerly way of thinking that allows them to develop creative solutions that consider the implications and consequences of people interacting with technology. It has been known that a practicum (Schön, 1987) environment contributes to developing this way of thinking by means of reflection (Schön, 1987). We present in this paper a pedagogical approach based on narratives to be employed in studio-based courses for HCI/d. We discuss how oral and multimedia narratives support in conveying content-independent concepts that affect the learning experience. We propose a set of components to help the elaboration of these stories. Additionally, we introduce a conceptual space called the narrative cloud, which helps us to elaborate on the ideas regarding this approach and closely ties to the concept of distributed cognition (Hutchins, 2000). Therefore, the goal of this paper is establish a base for discussing a further development of this approach, or any framework or methods where narratives constitute a fundamental element that supports reflection in HCI/d education.

The Narrative Cloud and Content-Independent Concepts by Sosa Tzec, Beck, and Siegel
In this approach, the instructor –labeled “i” in the figure– selects one concept as an intellectual foundation for a story. The aim is to engage students –labeled “s” in the figure– into reflection (Schön, 1987) upon themselves as learners, team members, and ultimately, as agents of positive change through and by HCI Design. We call these foundational concepts Content Independent Concepts (CIC). For conveying these concepts we suggest oral and multimedia stories (e.g. video clips or musical pieces). As a result of this sensitizing process, the students start building their own stories. These stories and all the other elements of the studio –people, infrastructure, and materials– function as units for distributing cognition and conform to a bigger story, a conceptual space we call The Narrative Cloud.

Publication

Sosa Tzec, O., Beck, J. E., Siegel, M. A. (2013) Building the Narrative Cloud: Reflection and Distributed Cognition in a Design Studio Classroom. DRS // CUMULUS 2013. 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers. Submitted for Publication. [PDF]
[Read online]

Related Material

Siegel, M. & Stolterman, E. (2008). “Metamorphosis: Transforming Non-designers into Designers”, DRS Conference, July, Sheffield, 2008. [PDF]

Nelson, H. & Stolterman, E. (2012). The Design Way. Cambridge: MIT Press. [More info]

Presentation