Mapping methods, techniques, tools and design values

Methods can be a bit like a black box. Embedded within them are particular assumptions about design and participation that can be unwittingly projected into our design process and outcomes. If we hope to privilege sociability, flexibility and openness in our designs, these values can be better supported through some tools and techniques more than others. In my thesis I have drawn attention to particular qualities and concepts relevant to design in the context of social technologies. I’m in the process of making these available to others in different ways such as maps, vocabularies and considerations.

mapping goals, experiences, enablers, qualities

mapping goals, experiences, enablers and qualities in early design research

Design tools like concept maps and sketches  allow us to analyse and visualise things in different ways. In this context they can make visible important, though often implicit, aspects of methods. The (draft) map above describes the use of social technologies as a self-reporting/live prototyping tool in early design research. It takes into account goals of the design method, experiences that are of value in this context and qualities of the tools and technique that become enablers for these experiences. By mapping a relationship between design goals, qualities and enablers (methods) the intention is to make more visible connections between the tools, techniques and the values they embody.

The first two goals, immersion and intervention, take into account the perspective and experiences of the designer and participant. The third goal, seeding, represents the relationship between them, and between design and use. The qualities of digital self-reporting e.g over-time, in situ, visually rich, personal, mobile and so on enable the kinds of experiences (e.g reflection, inspiration) that support these desired goals.

The map is not meant to be prescriptive or exhaustive. Rather it is meant as a tool for encouraging discussion, reflection and decision-making. The map and its explanation are still very much works in progress.

Immersion, intervention and seeding are three key concepts that have emerged out of my work on participatory and designerly design methods that name things important (but at times implicit) to our practice^.

^ Designerly methods embody the creative, visual and exploratory nature of design, while participatory methods embody a commitment to active participation by users in design.

References: (A full literature review a reference list can be provided, in the mean time here are some selected key texts that have been instrumental in my work).
1.    Robertson, T.: Ethical Issues in Interaction Design. Ethics and Information Technology 8 (2006)
2.    Visser, F.S., Stappers, P.J., Lugt, R.V.D., Sanders, E.B.-N.: Contextmapping: experiences from practice. CoDesign 1 (2005) 119-140
3.    Visser, F.S., Lugt, R.v.d., Stappers, P.J.: Sharing User Experiences in the Product Innovation Process: Participatory Design Needs Participatory Communication. Creativity and Innovation Management 16 (2007) 35-45
4.    Botero, A., Kommonen, K.-H., Oilinki, I., Koskijoki, M.: Codesigning Visions, Uses, and Applications. TechnE Design Wisdom” 5th European Academy of Design Conference, Barcelona (2003)
5.    Botero, A., Saad-Sulonen, J.: Co-designing for new city-citizen interaction possibilities: weaving prototypes and interventions in the design and development of Urban Mediator. PDC’09. ACM, Bloomington, USA (2008)
6.    Hulkko., S., Mattelmäki, T., Virtanen, K., Keinonen, T.: Mobile Probes. NORDICHI 04, Tampere, Finland (2004)
7.    Gaver, B., Boucher, A., Pennington, S., Walker, B.: Subjective Design for Everyday Life. CHI 2003 (2003)
8.    Merkel, C.B., Xiao, L., Farooq, U., Ganoe, C.H., Lee, R., Carroll, J.M., Rosson, M.B.: Participatory Design in Community Computing Contexts: Tales from the Field PDC’04. ACM, Toronto, Canada (2004)
9.    Kensing, F., Blomberg, J.: Participatory Design: Issues and Concerns. Computer Supported Cooperative Work 7 (1998) 167-185
10.    Näkki, P., Antikainen, M., Virtanen, T.: Participatory Design in an Open Web Laboratory Owela CHI08. ACM, Florence, Italy (2008)
11.    Stolterman, E.: The Nature of Design Practice and Implications for Interaction Design Research. International Journal of Design 2 (2008)
12.    Dourish, P.: Where the Action Is. MIT Press (2001)


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