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26 OCTOBER 2014

Donald Norman: The Research-Practice Gulf

"There is a great gulf between the research community and practice. Moreover, there is often a great gull between what designers do and what industry needs. We believe we know how to do design, but this belief is based more on faith than on data, and this belief reinforces the gulf between the research community and practice.

I find that the things we take most for granted are seldom examined or questioned. As a result, it is often our most fundamental beliefs that are apt to be wrong.

In this talk, deliberately intended to be controversial. I examine some of our most cherished beliefs. Examples: design research helps create breakthrough products; complexity is bad and simplicity good; there is a natural chain from research to product."

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TAGS

2010abstract models • applied social science • appropriately complex representationbreakthrough innovation • breakthrough products • call to actionChicagocomplexitydesign and innovationdesign communitydesign conferencedesign practicedesign research • design research conference • designer-centred designdisruptive innovationdogmaDonald Normanethnographic design approach • existing product categories • failure of design research • fundamental beliefs • generalised modelsHCDhuman-centred designideation • IIT Institute of Design (ID) • Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) • incremental innovationinnovation process • innovative breakthroughs • keynote address • product developmentradical innovationrapid prototypingreal-world designreal-world projectsresearch communityresearch-practice gulf • results-driven • simplicitytesting perpetuates mediocrity • translational engineering • translational sciencewhat designers do • what industry needs

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 NOVEMBER 2013

d.school: Design Thinking Bootcamp

"The Bootcamp Bootleg is an overview of some of our most–used tools. The guide was originally intended for recent graduates of our Bootcamp: Adventures in Design Thinking class. But we've heard from folks who've never been to the d.school that have used it to create their own introductory experience to design thinking. The Bootcamp Bootleg is more of a cook book than a text book, and more of a constant work–in–progress than a polished and permanent piece. This resource is free for you to use and share – and we hope you do."

(d.school at Stanford University)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Neal White
04 OCTOBER 2013

Meredith Davis: A Call to Action for Design Educators

"I believe that design education, at the most fundamental level, views complexity as a problem to be overcome through reductivist artifacts, not as an inevitable and pervasive attribute of life in the post–industrial community. So if the future is about an ever–expanding web of connectedness, how are we preparing students for meaningful work in this complex world? I'd like to suggest that we're not. Despite the obvious emotional impact of Glaser's poster, he belongs to a generation in which the goal of design was to make things simple. Negroponte, on the other hand, is a technologist for whom the design goal is to render the complex manageable and to make complicated things meaningful.

Almost everything about today's graphic design education is matched to Glaser's worldview. We structure both curricula and projects in craft–based progressions from simple to complex, from the abstract to the contextualized. In typography classes, for example, we begin with the letter, and then advance to the word, sentence, paragraph, and page. Sequences of typography courses are built on this simple to complex progression, when opening InDesign demands that students address the formal and interpretive issues of publication design simultaneously; how do you defer a discussion of leading, of column width, of the modernist preconceptions of software, of language? The only option is default, and what kind of typographic lesson is that?

The reality is that our strategy for teaching typography is residue from how students could comp type in predigital times; by drawing. It is the organizational structure for every type book since James Craig's 1970 Designing with Type, but it holds less relevance for what students need to know about communication in a digital world. Typography today is a complex relational system that depends on the interplay of formal, technological, linguistic, and cultural variables. Yet we persist in teaching this progression of scale, isolating such variables within their own distinct conceptual frameworks and rules.

The same strategy exists for how students progress in other studies of form. Foundation lessons begin with abstraction: point, line, and plane; color wheels; and paper–folding exercises. We defer discussions of meaning and context until later levels of the curriculum and beginning students learn these abstraction principles only through patterns in what makes their teachers smile. Nothing about these studies resembles what students know about in the real world, and as a colleague recently suggested, what the clients of design see in our work. So what if we begin with the familiar and complex?"

(Meredith Davis, 4 April 2008, AIGA Boston Presentation)

Presentation made at W/Here: Contesting Knowledge in the 21st Century, Emily Carr University of Art+Design, Vancouver, Canada, 7–9 December 2011.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 MAY 2013

When Is Now? The Historical Present in Creative Practice

Thursday 27th June 2013, 10:00am – 4:30pm, Waterside 2, The Watershed, Bristol, UK.

"This one–day symposium explores the historical present in creative practice. In a cultural climate that valorizes the 'now' what does it mean to occupy the present moment? Our aim is to examine the present tense of creative practice as itself historical as opposed to understanding it as the end point of a linear chronological line. The symposium is motivated by a desire to pay attention to the atmospheric 'thickness' of the present tense in art, media and design practices and to imagine what kinds of experience can be articulated when what Lauren Berlant calls the 'ongoingness' of life is slowed down and brought into visibility. The symposium includes papers on the historical present in relation to painting, sound, photography, film, digital media and video."

TAGS

2013 • Betty Nigianni • Caroline Molley • chronological line • chronological sequencecontemporary presentcreative practice • Deborah Withers • design practicedigital media • Dot Rowe • film • Frank Bowling • historical present • historical understanding • inventing history • Jerry Walton • Katie Davies • Lauren Berlantlinear • linear timeline • media practicemomentmoments • moving sound • now • ongoingnesspainting • Peter Wright • photography • present moment • present tense • repetition • Rose Butler • School of Arts (UWE) • simultaneitysnapshotsoundstill imagesymposium • thickness • Tony Oursler • UKUniversity of the West of England • UWE • videovisual culture • Visual Culture Research Group (UWE)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 MARCH 2013

Exploration oriented design process: focussing on the interplay between designer, techniques and materials in design research

"My field of interest is what I will call an exploration oriented design process included in design research; a process focussing on the interplay between designer, techniques and materials. The role of the artefact is to act as a reflecting and responding means for pushing the research process forward to clarify what is possible and how, regarding the research question. A related example of such an approach to research is found at the research cluster Autonomatic (2009) at Falmouth College University, which do research that explores the use of digital manufacturing technologies in the creative process of designing and making three dimensional objects.

As a contrast, consider a problem oriented design process included in design research. That is, designing which, although research embedded, nevertheless aims at developing working prototypes or appearance models, just as ordinary professional design. An example is the Ph.D. project by Jonathan Allen discussed by Pedgley and Wormald (2007). The aim of Jonathan Allen's research was to advance the design of, and champion new approaches to designing, products for people with severe communication disabilities and physical impairment. During his project, he developed a fully working prototype communication device.

However, in the present paper I shall demonstrate that exploration oriented design can be fruitful as a design research method, because it is relieved from the usual obligation to fulfil a purpose of everyday use, solve problems or fulfil certain needs. As we shall see, the exploration oriented design process does not proceed as a series of isolated experiments, but rather as a cluster of parallel and interdependent experiments, which as a whole reflect the potential of the research question. I will argue that this approach turns design practice in which the design researcher is trained into an effective tool for design research."

(Flemming Tvede Hansen, p.99, 2009)

Hansen, Flemming Tvede. (2009). "A Search for Unpredictable Relationships". EKSIG 2009: Experiential Knowledge, Method & Methodology, Experiential Knowledge Special Interest Group.

TAGS

2009 • appearance models • Autonomatic (research cluster) • communication device • communication disability • design practicedesign researchdesign research methodologydesign researcherdesign techniquesdesigningdesigning and making • digital manufacturing • digital manufacturing technologies • EKSIG • everyday use • exploration oriented design • exploration oriented design process • Falmouth College University • Flemming Tvede Hansen • fulfil needs • interdependent experiments • interplay between • isolated experiments • Jonathan Allen • new approaches to design • ordinary professional design • Owain Pedgley • parallel experiments • Paul Wormald • physical impairment • problem oriented design process • reflecting and responding • research process • role of the artefact • solving problemsthree dimensional objectsworking prototypes

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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