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Design Research: Methods and Perspectives

by Brenda Laurel The MIT Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 336 pages
AU$122.00 NZ$125.22
Product Status: In Stock Now
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& Academics:
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.

Contents: Preface: The Design Cluster - Peter Lunenfeld / Introduction: Muscular Design - Brenda Laurel / Acknowledgments - Brenda Laurel / PEOPLE / Section Introduction: The Changing Role of Research - Christopher Ireland / Qualitative Methods: From Boring to Brilliant - Christopher Ireland / Ethnography and Critical Design Practice - Tim Plowman / The Paradox of Design Research - Bonnie McDaniel Johnson / Designing for the New Old - Eric Dishman / Demo: Design Improvisation - Brenda Laurel / Hispanic Culture in Design Research - Carlos Santos / Overview of Quantitative Methods in Design Research - Stacey Purpura / User Requirements - Abbe Don and Jeff Petrick / FORM / Section Introduction: Design (As) Research - Anne Burdick / Speculation, Serendipity and Studio Anybody - Lisa Grocott / Toward a Definition of the Decorational - Denise Gonzales Crisp / Demo: DesignWriting - Anne Burdick / Sensory Anomalies - Michael Naimark / Spontaneous Cinema as Design Practice - Rachel Strickland / Game Forms for New Outcomes - Emma Westecott / Strategy, Tactics and Heuristics for Research - Rob Tow / PROCESS / Section Introduction: Test Pilots - Brenda Laurel / Bringing Clarity to the 'Fuzzy Front End' - Darrel Rhea / Research Methods for Designing Effective Experiences - Nathan Shedroff / Enabling Design - Sean Donohue / Non-Assumptive Research - Dorothy Deasy / Play as Research - Eric Zimmerman / Demo: Creating a Culture of Design Research - Eric Zimmerman / Interdisciplinary Design Research - Patrick Svensson / Conceptual Designs - BJ Fogg / Moving Your Idea Through Your Organization - Christopher Loch / Demo: Vibe-Hunting - Somi Kim / Living Proof - Tracy Moon / Research to Fuel the Creative Process - David Canaan / ACTION / Section Introduction: Reports from the Field - Brenda Laurel / 'You Can't Bring That Game to School!' - Kurt Squire and Philip Tan / SimSmarts - Will Wright and Brenda Laurel / Social Impact by Design - Darion Rapoza / Researching America's Army - Margaret Davis / A Virtual Walk on the Moon - Bruce Damer / Demo: Mobium - Jin Hyun Park / Research and the Movies - Buffy Shutt / Real Brand Alignment - David Masten / Conclusion: Beauty, Brains and Bravery - Brenda Laurel / References and Acknowledgments / Index Biographies /

...this is a book to turn your career inside out with serious examination and reflection.

'Book Bytes
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).