• A high-utility,
CRiSTAL, an MIT
Media Lab project
featuring an on-demand flat-sur-face interface for
in the home [ 12].
that brought them into being.
However, such interrogation relies
entirely on the design knowledge
of the designer who is using the
precedent. Such precedent has
value, but it does not take advantage of the design knowledge that
went into the artifact, which can
be quite rich and complex [ 7, 8].
Other Noteworthy Examples of Precedent Design Smule’s iPhone Ocarina Though somewhat promotional in tone, this design case is notable for the thoroughness and transparency of explanation for critical design features and the decisions behind them. https://ccrma.stanford.edu/~ge/publish/ocarina-nime2009.pdf The Story of the Ribbon This design case is especially strong in presentation of the context for the design, in negative case analysis (design directions that were not followed through in the nd), thick description of the design, and reliance on audit trails—records of design decisions and activities drawn upon to explain the evolution of the project. http://office- blogs.net/UI/UX09_Harris.pdf
or solution patterns, that serve to
clarify an existing design situation
or inform future design moves [ 5].
September + October 2012
Precedent Available via
the Design Case
In its simplest sense, a design
case as we conceive it is precedent
made available as a description of
a designed artifact or experience
in visual, verbal, or time-based
media, or a combination of these
forms. The description might be
as minimal as the simple image
of an object, or as extensive as
a book-length account describ-
ing the context and genesis of
a design, as well as the design
process, including its multiple
iterations, creation of the final
design, and its eventual use.
What Is Not a Design Case?
The teaching case is a detailed
fiction or fictionalized account of
designing used to provoke reflection and discussion in classroom
settings. These are usually edited,
with a resulting loss of fidelity, in order to emphasize the
aspects required for teaching.
While design cases may be used
to unquestionable benefit in the
classroom, they are not the same
form of representing knowledge.
The case study in design is a
type of research aimed at building generalized knowledge, which
means that the focus is on aspects
of a design or design process that
may be related to other instances
and used to build up principles,
guidelines, models, or theories
applicable to other design situations or to all design situations.
The emphasis in representation
must therefore be on analysis
versus description, and on the
determination of utility contained
within the case itself—that is, the
developers of a case study, and
reviewers of it, must decide in
advance of its publication whether
it will be a useful contribution to
knowledge. There must also be a
conscious attempt on the part of
writers in such a study to interpret
its value for readers. In essence,
such a case aims to build knowledge in social science rather than
to build design knowledge.
Design-based research, com-
mon now in educational research,