to design for, or to design with, that is the question




Our theory class covered eight authors this section. They were both thick and thin, at times a chore to get through, but equally interesting. I struggled with finding my own two cents on understanding each author initially, but our assignment really made my understanding rather linear (heh heh). We were tasked to place these authors on a design with and design for x, y axis. We were granted the freedom to create our own z axis, I chose scalability going up, and implosive going down…

Chris Ledantec wrote our first reading and he interacted a great deal with persons who were homeless. He approached his research with input from counselors in the community to better establish trust with his participants. Ledantec used the community he aimed to learn more about to extract user created data.

Jodi Forlizzi claimed high importance on the product ecology framework broadens the view of what a product is, she claims many products are much more than functional objects of use. The objects of use’s meaning changes with time. Jodi also elaborates on the importance of frameworks which I found extremely helpful.

Paul Dourish lays out many important yet complex pieces of information that delve into the importance of context. He also delves into how easily context can disappear when you try to define it… Paul goes into the importance of context being developed in a person through everyday “mundane” life. Although his grandiose explanation was hard to get through, Dourish’s adherence to human experience let me to think he’s with them.

William Gaver’s research and writing was my most favorite of the eight. His seemingly positive approach to the peculiar was refreshing. He highlights early on that probes provided him with insights unlike any other in the development of products. He placed creativity in the hands of non-designers, how it should be, if you ask me. Gaver also acknowledges averaging results filters out the peculiar, those of which could be most exciting.

Liz Sanders does not speak much to her own personal research or experiences, however it felt clear that her enthusiasm and references to the human centered approach place her in the design with realm. Sander’s mentions things like “Empathy for the people who will be affected by change is key” She shares her value for co-creation. It puts tools for communication and creativity in the hands of the people who will benefit directly from the research.

Jane Fulton Suri, like Sanders makes important points on .a human centered approach but shares more ideas and theories surrounding it. Suri acknowledges the importance of anomalies and teams developing a common vision of what they’re trying to bring into the world. A sort of hive mentality for designers.

Don Norman, the black sheep, eye-ore type of all these readings was rather provocative, as he intended it to be. Norman seems to be wagging his finger at designers with a harsh reminder that they’re subject to societal parameters as well. From Norman’s point of view innovation is not linear with culture. It can become stagnant and incremental innovations are now the commonplace of new technologies.

Finally, we read a chapter of Jon Kolko’s writing. Jon acknowledges that design problems are had and dealt with by the powers that be…not users. The idea of design synthesis becomes more clear throughout his reading. He highlights synthesis is a sense-making process that helps the designer move from data, to information, and from information to knowledge. Not all can be solved by design research, but more opportunity for new ideas or innovative concepts.