I take my hat off!
Five great ideas for useful software for designers.
They are also five great ideas for classic postgraduate design research.
All the best,
From: PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related
research in Design [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karel van
Sent: Wednesday, 19 August 2009 3:22 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Connecting research to practice/was Who Designs?
As graphic designer, I would like to see - before I integrate it into
my practice - the following software. [Of course, this software is
not suitable for 'all graphic design projects': many projects can be
done without any of these.] For more complex projects, I would like
- argument mapping systems. There are some examples in the legal
profession that help lawyers to structure their arguments. Something
similar for graphic design would be useful. See for example -
careful: download starts immediately:
- genre comparisons/ pattern comparisons. (There are visual patterns
in genres: a newspaper looks like newspaper because ..., an internet
shop looks like an internet shop because ... In the short time for a
single project, it is rarely possible to collect and compare enough
existing examples. It would be nice to have software that compares
these patterns. 'Does it still look enough like a newspaper AND is it
sufficiently different to distinguish itself?' Especially if it can
select too on regional patterns, languages, ...). The other way
around would be useful too: template development software. Based on
the same collection of genres, it must be possible to automatically
develop a range of templates.
- situation mapping. Visualising all stakeholders and powers for a
single practical area can take years: the underlying forces for the
graphic design of a 'taxform' or a 'parking meter receipt' or a
'train driver display' are a combination of dozens of influences.
Frequently, there is not 'a single commissioner', but a 'range of
influences on commissioners'. Optimizing the combination of different
perspectives of stakeholders could be visualized.
- professional development strategy. The variation of activities of
graphic designers is substantial and making appropriate career
decision - after graduation with a BA or MA - is hard. [It is not
clear how many formally educated graphic designers leave the
profession + it is not known how many graphic designers without
formal education work as professionals.] Again, there must be
patterns in professional graphic design careers that could be
digitally mapped so that decisions about professional development of
both individual graphic designers as well as design companies can be
based on evidence. [This would help in graphic design education as
well ... because it would be possible to provide students with an
complete overview of the profession.]
- responses from people. Usability testing of graphic design is
worthwhile, but the results are only applicable to one specific
situation. The validity and application in other projects remains
difficult. Something that seems to work in one situation might be
applied again, inclusive of its reasoning. A collection of usability
testing results with their motivations might be useful.
These five examples do not make decisions: that needs to be done by
designers. However, if arguments, patterns, situations, professional
development and usability results could be collected, compared and
made available, I would like to have a look at it for my practice.
All five need to be based on research: is any of these examples
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>It would be interesting to, very specifically and with strong
>justification, identify those areas of design practice that the above is
>not true and develop design research in those areas. I'm envisaging
>something way on the other side of 'Design as Rhetoric'/'Design as a
>systematic process'/'Design as a collaborative social process'.
>If this is possible, it would provide a basis for identifying completely
>pathways in design education that are beyond being design software jockeys
>(though my feeling is that being a good design software jockey is a sound
>profession) and would help identify which areas of design education to dump
>from out of design education courses (rhetoric?).
>Many engineering design courses have faced this problem over the last
>years in that there is now much less need for mathematical understanding in
>engineering than was previously necessary (those dratted successful design
>researchers again!). It has enabled a rethinking of what it means to be a
>professional engineering designer/manager and a radical reworking of
>I regularly need to transfer the
>theoretical and philosophical debates of my colleagues, no matter how valid
>they are, into a position that is more pragmatic and somehow connected to
>the realities of contemporary professional design practice.
>This conundrum, that is, the apparent disconnect between design research
>its applicability to design practice, has been a recurring theme on this