An Evolving Map of Design Practice and Design Research

Love this way of drawing maps and explaining this. Have  done it for years – and the stopped. In this paper – which I read online – I see Liz trying to get a comprehensive take on design research going. Its great – but I doesn’t work for me totally for I may be grounded in a different way of thinking. So I did a bit of background research – and way quite impressed with the background and approach that enable Liz to do a take on design.

Now this is something I struggle with often because the exquisite fuzziness of design must not be cleaned up so much. But I can see that there are places where design has to look like a machine – atleast in so far as we need categories – as in now we have ‘user centered’ as a category. Even though we said you must not call people users. And also I am not coming from interaction design at-least not exclusively. I preferred the 1999 sketch of Liz’s – not sure about the colors in this one. Take a look at that paper on maketools.

Now if you have a larger canvas – where you lose some of the detail (for which I will read Liz’s article as a companion piece) – then your map looks a bit different. I will post that next – but first I have to get a napkin-like photograph of the map!

Research Methods
interactions magazine

An Evolving Map of Design Practice and Design Research by

Design research is in a state of flux. The design research landscape has been the focus of a tremendous amount of exploration and growth over the past five to 10 years. It is currently a jumble of approaches that, while competing as well as complementary, nonetheless share a common goal: to drive, inspire, and inform the design development process. Conflict and confusion within the design research space are evident in the turf battles between researchers and designers. Online communities reveal the philosophical differences between the applied psychologists and the applied anthropologists, as well as the general discontent at the borders between disciplines. At the same time, collaboration is evident in the sharing of ideas, tools, methods, and resources in online design research communities. We can also see an increase in the number and quality of global design research events and a growing emphasis on collaborative projects between industry and the universities, particularly in Europe…


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