Workshop: Supporting Reflection in and on Design Processes

Supporting Reflection in and on Design Processes

12th June, 2012, Newcastle, UK.
In conjunction with the DIS2012

This workshop is unconventional in that participants must commit to capturing and documenting a design process for a period in time in order to participate.

A substantial amount of interaction design research addresses design techniques and report and reflect on experiences from using a specific design technique. While this research can yield valuable insights into concrete events and approaches, they seldom account for what happens in the larger frame of the entire design process. In this workshop, we wish to explore how design processes extending longer periods of time, weeks to several months, can be captured and documented, how this data can be analysed, and what types of research insights such work can yield. Such insights may concern how ideas emerge, how design concepts are manifested in different forms, how interaction between different participants and stakeholders unfold, etc.

The challenges for reflection on design processes is further challenged by the facts that design researchers often take on a double role of serving as both designers and researchers at different points of time in a process, especially if they adopt a research through design approach.

See more in the original workshop proposal.

Plan for the workshop

The first part of the workshop will consist of presentation and discussion of participants work. For this session, we will ask each group to prepare a 10 minute presentation. In order to identify commonalities and interesting outliers in the different projects, each group should strive to identify the following in their presentation:
- A brief description of the case and process documented
- A brief introduction to the documentation tool used
- Research insights gained from documenting and reflecting on the process
- 3 challenges for reflective design documentation
- 3 opportunities for reflective design documentation
- 3 key findings for reflective design documentation
- 3 key references for reflective design documentation


During the presentations, we will work on developing shared themes and points of interest worthy of further discussion. After lunch, we will address these themes in various ways, partly through group discussions, partly through a design exercise in building the ideal design documentation tool. Finally, we will wrap up the day with a joint session on potentials for future collaboration.

The tentative plan of the workshop is as follows:
0900 Welcome, background for the workshop
0930 Presentation of participants' work (Each presentation will be 10 mins plus 5 mins discussion)
1200 Lunch
1300 Discussion of themes in groups
1345 Presentation of themes in groups
1400 Break
1415 The ideal documentation tool
1600 Future collaboration

In addition to discussing these issues during the workshop, it is the goals of the workshop is to establish a community of researchers and designers with a special interest in capturing and mapping design processes.

Position papers

You can download the position papers from the workshop participants here (PDF files, compressed in a combined ZIP file 4.3MB)

Goal

The goal of the workshop is to advance the practical and theoretical understanding of documenting and reflecting on design processes. The workshop seeks to explore how to capture salient aspects of design through the use of structuring tools and techniques.

In addition to discussing these issues during the workshop, it is the goals of the workshop is to establish a community of researchers and designers with a special interest in capturing and mapping design processes.

Activities - before workshop

The workshop is unconventional in that participants must commit to capturing and documenting a design process for a period in time in order to participate.

In order to participate, interested parties must therefore do the following:

  1. Submit a proposal (1-2 pages) describing the design process to be documented, the project or institutional/organizational frame (e.g. at which institution or company is it carried out and what partners are involved), the focus of the documentation (for instance, how design concepts arise and are manifested through the project, how collaboration unfolds, how sources of inspiration inform the design process), and the tools and strategy for documenting the project.
  2. Upon acceptance, the prospective participants must then document the design process as outlined in their proposals for a period of 1-2 months. This work forms the empirical data for the workshop.

During the past two years, the workshop organizers have developed a web-based system for documenting design processes. We invite prospective participants to try out this system, tentatively and quite unimaginatively named the Process Reflection Tool (PRT). This system is structured around events and notes, which are input by design project participants and chronologically stored in a shared project site. Prospective participants will be given their own project site in the system if they so desire, or they may choose to use a different system for capturing the design process.

Activities - during the workshop

During the workshop, we will share accounts of how we have documented design processes and discuss how the work of documenting and analysing design can serve as a catalyst for new knowledge.

Following the accounts of practical issues of design documentation, we aim at developing a richer understanding of what role this work can play in both design research and design practice. More specifically, how can design researchers plan and carry out design documentation and which types of research insights can it lead to, and how can designers incorporate documentation into their work so it can inform on-going projects as well as serve as repositories of knowledge for use in future projects?

The format of the workshop will be short cycles of case/methods presentation (10-15 minutes each) followed by joint discussions in which we identify and articulate key themes, challenges, and potentials for design documentation and reflection. We will conclude the workshop with a dialogue on how to establish a community around the topic of design documentation and reflection.

To participate

Submit before 5th March 2012 a proposal (1-2 pages in the DIS 2012 template) described in item 1) in the section 'Activities - before workshop' above.

Mail proposal to: Halskov@CAVI.dk

Important Dates and website

Workshop submission deadline: 5th March 2012
Feedback to authors: 12th March 2012
Date of workshop: 12th June 2012

Website: reflection.projects.cavi.dk

Organizers

  • Kim Halskov: CAVI, Aarhus University, Denmark
    Kim Halskov is professor in interaction design and is currently the director of CAVI and Center for Digital Urban Living.
  • Peter Dalsgaard: CAVI, Aarhus University, Denmark
    Peter Dalsgaard's work combines practice-based experimental interaction design and theoretical developments aimed at improving the understanding of design processes
  • Steve Harrison, Center for Human-Computer Interaction, Virginia Tech, US
    Steve Harrison is professor of design practice and has for several years been doing research into design processes and methods.