Tools for Interaction Design Education

Currently, the little research time I have is concerned with developing new tools and techniques for interaction design education. I am starting up a project together with Natalia Romero on how to use the method of experience sampling to monitor and guide students in their design process.

Designing with Precedents (PhD. thesis, 2003)

Every year designers are challenged to generate new and unique product forms. Often, the design and form of previous products constitutes a basis for the generation of new ones. What role then do existing products play in the generation and development of new product forms? How can this role be influenced by means of new design techniques? And how can these techniques be supported by means of a design support tool?

These three questions have directed the research in this thesis. In a first study interviews with designers were conducted to map the context in which new product forms are being created. Based on a review of the literature, a theoretical framework was then constructed to describe the possible role of the old in the creation of the new. This framework was then made specific for the form-creation phase of the product design process. The assumptions underlying the framework were then tested in a design experiment. This was followed by another experiment, in which designers were studied while arranging, grouping and naming collections of existing products, in order to identify their classification behavior. The results of these studies were then integrated into the design of a user interface for a visual database of product samples, called ProductWorld. Finally, a fully functional prototype of the interface was built and tested in an educational setting.

For more information and samples of the software, visit the accompanying website.