reshape the limits of design within
Downplaying design interventions
such as Trace simply because they do
not produce the kinds of knowledge
we are used to would be unfortunate,
particularly since the aforementioned
approaches have been enhanced by
diverse research methods before.
Although the approach and questions
posed differ from more conventional
research, our criteria for success
remain similar. They rest on an
engagement with discourse that
demonstrates the work’s broader
impact. Equally, they call for a capacity
to show the legitimacy of the approach
in terms of clarity of method and
empirical evidence. While potentially
providing new directions for design,
this process also promises to engage
and refine social theory. It enables us
to continue coming to grips with how
social worlds unfold by shifting the
situation of those within them.
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Royal College of Art, London, 1993.
2. Zimmerman, J., Stolterman, E., and
Forlizzi, J. An analysis and critique of
Research through Design: Towards a
formalization of a research approach.
Proc. of the 8th ACM Conference on
Designing Interactive Systems. ACM,
New York, 2010, 310–319.
3. Burawoy, M. The Extended Case Method:
Four Countries, Four Decades, Four Great
Transformations, and One Theoretical
Tradition. Univ. of California Press, 2009.
4. Gaver, W. What should we expect from
research through design? Proc. of the
SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors
in Computing Systems. ACM, New York,
5. Jiro, Y. Gutai bijutsu sengen (Gutai Art
Manifesto). Geijutsu Shinchō 7, 12 (1956);
7. Gaver, W. H., Hooker, B., Dunne, A., and
Farrington, P. The Presence Project. RCA
CRD Projects Series, 2001.
8. Suchman, L.A. Practice-based design
of information systems: Notes from the
hyperdeveloped world. The information
Society 18, 2 (2002), 139–144.
9. Gaver, B., and Bowers, J. Annotated
portfolios. Interactions 19, 4 (2012), 40–49.
Daniela Rosner is an assistant professor of
human-centered design and engineering at the
University of Washington, where she co-directs
the Tactile and Tactical Design Lab (TAT Lab).
Her research focuses on how cultural histories are
woven into our interactions with things we create.
DOI: 10.1145/2732406 COP YRIGHT HELD BY AUTHOR. PUBLICATION RIGHTS LICENSED TO ACM. $15.00
how circumstances could be changed.
Last, this form of design inquiry
contrasts with other approaches to
developing new knowledge through
design. Bill Gaver and John Bowers, for
example, present annotated portfolios
as a methodology for communicating
process and drawing links within and
across design projects [ 9]. Annotated
portfolios may help people describe
design processes and patterns by
abstracting work from particular times
and places. We instead reveal the
particular contingencies of the design
situation, rethinking the conceptual
frameworks that change, bend, or
In sum, design inquiry may not
quell a possible separation of "design
research" and "design practice." The
design profession involves clients,
socioeconomic constraints, and so
on that limit the degree to which one
could engage in such interventions.
Instead, design inquiry begins to
build bridges with bodies of research
(e.g., communication, media studies,
science and technology studies) that
remain distinct but integral to HCI.
In linking these accounts, empirically
and analytically, we may generatively