Supporting Studio Culture in Interaction Design Research

Joy Mountford   Daniel Fallman , University of Umeå

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University February 22, 2008

The concept of studio-based work is central to education as well as practice in traditional design disciplines such as architecture and industrial design. Typical studio culture brings together a variety of forms of knowledge to contrast the increased specialization of many other professional settings, promoting creative, collaborate, multidisciplinary, and interactive activities. The design studio itself is typically quite material; walls are covered with photographs, images, diagrams, sketches, and PostIt-notes. Newspaper scraps, models in various stages of completion, and other seemingly unrelated objects render it slightly chaotic from an outside perspectivebut a highly creative environment for those involved.

During the last three years, I have been involved in building up a new Ph.D. education in industrial design at Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University, Sweden, with a strong focus on interaction design, creativity, and innovation. In this seminar, I will make a case for also conducting design research as a studio activity, and support this argument with examples of our current projects.

In our experience, the coexistence between design and research activities comes to pose a number of pertinent questions and challenges to design research. Is there a difference between design and research? Of whom is design research in support? Who guarantees the results?

To approach these issues, we have developed a simple triangular model that we find useful as a tool for thinking, both in practical situations as well as when discussing more theoretical and foundational questions in the area of studio-based design research. .

Daniel Fallman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Informatics at Umeå University, Sweden, and Research Director at Umeå Institute of Design, where he leads Umeå Design Research group, a multidisciplinary design research studio seeking confluence between industrial design, interaction design, and HCI.

Fallman's own research is focused on developing interaction design research while keeping a strong design focus. Currently, he works with developing a series of rapid sketching techniques for interaction designers. His previous work has addressed the design, use, and experience of mobile information technology through applying novel interaction styles and service models more suitable in a mobile use context. In this work, Fallman has a theoretical interest in the concept of embodiment from phenomenological discourse

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine or using this video link.

Titles and abstracts for previous years are available by year and by speaker.