The Role of Design Research

We live in a world that is constantly evolving & in flux, and that makes design research relevant today. As AC4D students, we account for this in developing our designs:

Our design research to date is focused on capturing the experiences of the outliers, painting a picture of the people who sit on the outside of the norm.

We are tasked with developing probes and exercises that allow our participants to give definition to their personal experiences. We conduct interviews with questions formed around “why do you” and “show me”  instead open ended questions and directives to perform tasks.

The most recent module of our theory class focused on the different ways of describing the role of design research and included 3 sections: Designing With, Designing For // Participatory Design // Synthesis & Value

The following diagram allocates the 8 authors of our readings along the x-axis according to the role of the end user in the design research methods they describe. The authors on the far left side of the axis practice design research that includes users during research and design development. The authors on the far right axis engage users to obtain research and then move forward with the design phase independently. For they y-axis, I initially labeled my line to represent the predictability of users’ behavior with a range of ‘People are Predictable’ to ‘People Do Crazy Stuff’ – I kept the language clean for the presentation. After feedback from the group, I decided to update the axis to a range of ‘People Are Predictable’ and ‘People are Autonomous.

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As illustrated in the table, most of our authors view people as unpredictable and that is something we as designers should take into consideration at all stages of the design process.

Our assignment began as imagining these 8 authors having a conversation about their perspective on design research. After determining the authors opinion on designing with and designing for a user and how they view the users that user’s behavior I  evolved my analysis to include how the final design artifact fits into the construct. Below is a diagram representing the influences for change of an artifact.

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