Design Research: Methods and Perspectives / Edition 1

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The tools of design research, writes Brenda Laurel, will allow designers "to claim and direct the power of their profession." Often neglected in the various curricula of design schools, the new models of design research described in this book help designers to investigate people, form, and process in ways that can make their work more potent and more delightful. "At the very least," Peter Lunenfeld writes in the preface, "design research saves us from reinventing the wheel. At its best, a lively research methodology can reinvigorate the passion that so often fades after designers join the profession."The goal of the book is to introduce designers to the many research tools that can be used to inform design as well as to ideas about how and when to deploy them effectively. The chapter authors come from diverse institutions and enterprises, including Stanford University, MIT, Intel, Maxis,Studio Anybody, Sweden's HUMlab, and Big Blue Dot. Each has something to say about how designers make themselves better at what they do through research, and illustrates it with real world examples—case studies, anecdotes, and images. Topics of this multi-voice conversation include qualitative and quantitative methods,performance ethnography and design improvisation, trend research, cultural diversity, formal and structural research practice, tactical discussions of design research process, and case studies drawn from areas as unique as computer games,museum information systems, and movies. Interspersed throughout the book are one-page "demos," snapshots of the design research experience. Design Research charts the paths from research methods to research findings to design principles to design results and demonstrates the transformation of theory into a richly satisfying and more reliably successful practice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...this is a book to turn your career inside out with serious examination and reflection." Book Bytes
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262122634
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/23/2003
  • Series: Mediaworks Pamphlets Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 889,100
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Brenda Laurel is Chair of the graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and was the co-founder of Purple Moon. She is the author of Utopian Entrepreneur (MIT Press, 2001).

Peter Lunenfeld is Professor of Design Media Arts at UCLA and the author of User: InfoTechnoDemo, Snap to Grid: A User's Guide to Digital Arts, Media,and Cultures, and The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine, all published by the MIT Press.

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Table of Contents

Preface: The Design Cluster 10
Introduction: Muscular Design 16
Acknowledgments 20
Section Introduction: The Changing Role of Research 22
Qualitative Methods: From Boring to Brilliant 23
Ethnography and Critical Design Practice 30
The Paradox of Design Research 39
Designing for the New Old 41
Demo: Design Improvisation 49
Hispanic Culture in Design Research 55
Overview of Quantitative Methods in Design Research 63
User Requirements 70
Section Introduction: Design (As) Research 82
Speculation, Serendipity and Studio Anybody 83
Toward a Definition of the Decorational 94
Demo: DesignWriting 101
Sensory Anomalies 109
Spontaneous Cinema as Design Practice 118
Game Forms for New Outcomes 129
Strategy, Tactics and Heuristics for Research 135
Section Introduction: Test Pilots 144
Bringing Clarity to the "Fuzzy Front End" 145
Research Methods for Designing Effective Experiences 155
Enabling Design 164
Non-Assumptive Research 172
Play as Research 176
Demo: Creating a Culture of Design Research 185
Interdisciplinary Design Research 193
Conceptual Designs 201
Moving Your Idea Through Your Organization 212
Demo: Vibe-Hunting 221
Living Proof 225
Research to Fuel the Creative Process 234
Section Introduction: Reports from the Field 242
"You Can't Bring That Game to School!" 244
SimSmarts 253
Social Impact by Design 260
Researching America's Army 268
A Virtual Walk on the Moon 276
Demo: Mobium 285
Research and the Movies 293
Research and Design for Kids 301
Real Brand Alignment 309
Conclusion: Beauty, Brains and Bravery 316
References and Acknowledgments 317
Index 323
Biographies 329
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