Huge efforts and funds are today deployed, in both academia and industry, with the purpose to develop new tools, techniques, and methods to support the design of innovative and creative interactive digital products and services. However, while a large proportion of these attempts lead to research insights, they are not always successfully transformed into design methods that fit the reality that practitioners experience. This lack of understanding of practice has in many cases led to a substantial lack of trust from practitioners towards the value of research contributions, while at the same time leading to frustrated researchers not understanding the lack of enthusiasm from practitioners when it comes to adapting new design methods emanating from research efforts. The proposed research will develop a solid understanding of this unfortunate situation by carefully investigating existing practice from the perspective of practitioners.
The research proposal is made up of five major studies and activities, conducted in parallel over three years. These activities are a combination of analytical studies of design methods and interview studies with practitioners (designers who employ design methods to create products and systems) and researchers (design method developers). The research will lead to insights and principles suitable for practitioners on how to strategize and handle their choice and use of design tools, techniques, and methods, and to insights and principles suitable for organizations for their strategic choices of design methods. Most importantly, the research will lead to educational guidelines suitable for design education on how to professionally think about and handle design methods. With increased knowledge about what constitutes appropriate design methods, these results will increase the probability for more creative and innovative designs of interactive products and systems.