Academic journal article International Journal of Design

Everyday Design as a Design Resource

Academic journal article International Journal of Design

Everyday Design as a Design Resource

Article excerpt

Introduction

Many people believe that design skills belong only to designers possessing exclusive knowledge honed at art/design schools. However, several scholars have stated that designing is a fundamental process for most creative work. For example, Herbert Simon (1996) defines designing as relevant not only to designers but to all professionals who adapt their work to meet particular goals for the preferred situation. Donald Schön (1984) insists that no matter what the profession, practitioners--designers and other professionals--work through "reflections in action." Simon and Schön represent two paradigms in design that consistently state that designing is relevant not only to designers but also to other professionals. Yet, is designing necessarily and always "professional"? Alexander (1964) introduces the concept of unselfconscious design, which states that people unconsciously make a good fit from a misfit as soon as the misfit is recognized. Unselfconscious design, as Alexander explains, was recognized as traditional design before the advent of professional design and is observed in everyday lives. Wakkary and Maestri (2007, 2008) state that people create the best solutions from the boundaries of their artifacts and environments, which can be described as the metaphor of bricolage (Louridas, 1999). Adapting and changing everyday artifacts to improve their fit into people's environments becomes a part of everyday activity.

Adaptation of designed artifacts to actual contexts has been an important research topic in various disciplines. Studies in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) have focused on how people accept and appropriate designed technology within given contexts. The ways in which people appropriate technology has implications for and provides direction to technology design and development (Heyer & Brereton, 2010; Salovaara et al., 2006; Salovaara et al., 2011). The role of user groups in appropriating technology has also been a key issue in the field of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). Studies in CSCW have examined the influence of appropriated technologies (Balka & Wagner, 2006; Dourish, 2003), the balance of the needs of a group and those of individual users within the group (Greenberg, 1991), and the use of technology in social settings (Mackay, 1990). Additionally, sociologists have examined how appropriated technology affects people's lives socially and have emphasized the importance of the responsible development of technology, given its potential dangers (Bijker, Hughes, & Pinch, 1987; Latour, 1987). In HCI, CSCW, and sociology, most studies investigating technology appropriation have focused on its unexpectedness and have sought to reduce the unexpected nature of technology appropriation.

The same is true in design research. Observation of user behavior has also been important for designers in improving their designs. Here the focus has been on the difference between designers' intentions and consumers' experiences. Thus, various communication models aimed at reducing the gap between the two have been explored in the design discipline (Crilly, Maier, & Clarkson, 2008). Carroll, Kellogg, and Rosson (1991) emphasize the co-evolution of tasks and artifacts and the iterative nature of this process. However, the role of actual tasks remains limited to providing new requirements for design. Carroll (2004) expands the design process to actual uses. However, her argument for "designing for appropriation" and "designing from appropriation" remains limited to differences between expected and actual requirements, a limitation that has resulted in a dichotomy between production and use (Suchman, 1994). Breaking from this dichotomous view, this study builds on recent work by such scholars as Suchman and Wakkary by deconstructing the term user, defining a user as a more creative and proactive agent. When use is detached from design, people's behaviors in relation to designed artifacts are no longer the result of design. …

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