[ 8]. The point we raise here concerns
the tension between the design of
things within economic frames that
involve ever-increasing consumption
and externalities [ 9], and the design of
sustainable lifestyles as a cardinal goal
of interaction design.
We are not arguing that making
things is unimportant; we are arguing
that being thoughtful about what
to make and the implications of
making are central concerns. Indeed,
making and thinking are to some
degree inseparable. In an ideal world,
interaction design students would
master the skills and competences
associated with each of the four waves.
As a practical matter, programs of
study need to work with the faculty,
students, and resources at hand to focus
on what is practical for the particular
circumstances. The two programs we
describe above have different faculty
foci, different student demographics
and class sizes, and especially very
different resources to scaffold research
TWO SENSES OF SCALE
As we stated at the outset, the ambitious
title “Billions of Interaction Designers”
refers to an ambition to make design
learning a foundational form of learning
and mode of being at great scale. The
four waves scaffold this notion of scale
in terms of intellectual breadth for
curricular composition, and this is the
sense of the term scale that prompts
the title. In this sense, we believe
that training interaction designers
in broad notions of values-oriented
transdisciplinarity, in addition to
ethnography, cognition, and technology,
yields greater societal benefit, as the
designs they create are ontologically
engaged in promoting and affording
positive lifestyles for everyone.
Insofar as interaction design becomes
a foundational form of learning and
interaction designs are more and more
implicated in our daily lives, we are all
There is another, more common
sense of the term scale that is
important. What is problematic for
interaction design is the relatively
small-scale numbers under which
design education operates. The
question of how to make design
education foundational and available
for larger numbers of students outside
of the studio context remains open.
Do you direct or teach in an interaction
design program? If so, we invite you
to contact us to participate in future
refinements and augmentations
of this framework to describe the
actual practices in interaction
design programs more broadly and
comprehensively. Please write to
the authors. We would be delighted
to include you and your description
of the practices and relations to
epistemological underpinnings of your
program in future expanded versions
of this article. Our approach is not to
conduct surveys, but rather to scaffold
a broadly based collaborative reporting
We gratefully acknowledge the many
administrators, faculty, students, and
other support staff who participate in
the programs described in this article.
1. This article extends a paper presented at
DesignEd Asia 2013, namely Blevis, E.,
Chow, K., Koskinen, I., Poggenpohl, S., and
Tsin, C. Billions of interaction designers.
Proc. of DesignEd Asia 2013. The Hong Kong
Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong
Design Institute, and the Hong Kong Design
Centre. Hong Kong, 2013.
2. Harrison, S. Tatar, D., and Sengers, P.
The three paradigms of HCI. Proc. of CHI
2007. ACM, New York, 2007.
3. The notion of third-wave HCI owes in our
reading to Suzanne Bødker’s work wherein
it is more broadly traced and attributed.
See Bødker, S. When second wave HCI
meets third wave challenges. In Proc. of the
4th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer
Interaction: Changing Roles. A. Morch, K.
Morgan, T. Bratteteig, G. Ghosh, and D.
Svanaes, eds. ACM, New York, 2006, 1–8.
4. See: Löwgren, J. and Stolterman, E.
Thoughtful Interaction Design. MI T
Press, 2004; Blevis, E. and Stolterman,
E. Transcending disciplinary boundaries
in interaction design. Interactions 16, 5
(Sept.–Oct. 2009), 48–51.
5. See: (Ethnography) Dourish, P.
Implications for design. Proc. of the
SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors
in Computing Systems. ACM, Ne w York,
2006; (Interaction Criticism) Bardzell, J.
and Bardzell, S. What is “critical” about
critical design? Proc. of the 2013 ACM
Annual Conference on Human Factors in
Computing Systems. ACM, New York, 2013,
6. For notions of transdisciplinarity
see: Max-Neef, M. A. Foundations of
transdisciplinarity. Ecological Economics
53 (2005), 5–16; Nicolescu, B. Manifesto
of Transdisciplinarity. State University of
New York Press, 2002.
7. It’s important to mention: We argue that
the method here has the aforementioned
utility. It is not the only method one can
use to understand and assess an interaction
8. See: Winograd, T. and Flores, F.
Understanding Computers and Cognition:
A New Foundation for Design. Addison-Wesley Longman, Boston, 1987. See
also: Willis, A.M. Ontological designing.
Design Philosophy Papers. #02/2006.
9. See: Friedman, K. Models of design:
Envisioning a future design education.
Visible Language 46, 1/2 (2012), 132–154;
Fry, T. A New Design Philosophy: An
Introduction to Defuturing. NSWU Press,
New South Wales, Australia, 1999;
Papanek, V. Design for the Real World:
Human Ecology and Social Change (2nd ed.).
Academy Chicago, Chicago, 1985.
Eli Blevis is director of and an associate
professor of informatics in the Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCI/d) program
in the School of Informatics and Computing at
Indiana University, Bloomington. He is also a
visiting professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic
School of Design. His scholarship concerns
sustainable interaction design, visual thinking,
and design education.
Kenny K.N. Chow is an assistant professor of
interaction design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic
University, where he is also the specialism leader
for both graduate and undergraduate programs.
His scholarship and expertise include semantics
of human-computer interaction, affective
user experience, digital media and non-verbal
communication, and cognitive and expressive play.
Ilpo Koskinen works as a professor at the
Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Lately,
his main interest has been in methodological
approaches in design research, especially
in research through design. Though he is
a sociologist by training, his work merges
industrial design and interaction design.
Sharon Poggenpohl focuses on postgraduate design education, both master's and
Ph.D., and design research. Taking a human-centered position with regard to design, she
teaches to help students humanize technology,
to learn to work creatively and collaboratively,
and to prepare them to contribute to building a
body of design knowledge.
Christine Tsin was trained as a graphic
designer. She led design teams serving
international clients for more than 20 years
before joining the Hong Kong Polytechnic
University, where she currently administers
the Master of Design programs.