Design and Use: Tools and Trends

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q. 1 How do our methods need to be extended or adapted to support design in the wild?

q. 2 How do we position our own practice in relation to this dynamic and changing design space?

These are two questions I posed at the end of a recent presentation I was invited to give at UTS to Masters students from the School of Design, Architecture and Building (edited slidedeck above). While the focus was an introduction to Personas and Scenarios (new to many of the students from outside the field of Interaction Design) the presentation also highlighted new trends or “strong currents” currently influencing design.

The aim of the presentation was to introduce some of the methods or “tools” we already have that support us in thinking about design in relation to use, as well as point to ways in which the relations between design and use are becoming more dynamic and intertwined.

This is an opportunity for us as practitioners to reflect on our practice, and think through how our existing tools are being, or may need to be, extended or augmented as we shift into new areas.

In particular we discussed a (conceptual and literal) shift from designing products to designing services and the impact trends such as crowdsourcing, DIY design and social media are having on professional design practice. Traditional boundaries between design and use are blurring as design activities become more public and relate to a larger more complex ‘eco systems’: design (and designing!) is escaping into the wild.

The closing questions above are also the subject of a paper I’ll be presenting at Ozchi in Melbourne later in the year, and I hope to be facilitating a discussion on the topic of Design in the Wild: The practitioners new playground next year at IXD10 (submission currently being reviewed).



  1. Cool blog and page in general – I appreciate when people communicate their research other ways than only in academic journals. Stumble upon it through I also look at how PD needs to be extended or adapted but to work in the wild of the use (as different from design phase) and evaluation/benefits realization of healthcare information systems. hoping to finish my phd on the subject in February.
    Good luck with your phd and further projects.

  2. Thanks Maren, your research sounds very interesting, I’d love to hear more about it. Good luck with your PhD also!

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