DISTRIBUTED PRACTICE: EDUCATING DESIGNERS ON THE URBAN INTERFACE
Parsons The New School for Design (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Page: 4165 (abstract only)
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:While the inherent value of user-centered design is broadly acknowledged, the dynamics of socio-technical interaction receive relatively little attention in the context of design education. The importance of defining users’ needs is emphasized, but ways of understanding the systemic dynamics from which these needs arise are rarely articulated. In effect, this leaves designers ill-equipped to address situations in which the final form of their work is determined by forces that cannot be adequately addressed at the individual level of analysis – situations that are becoming increasingly common as a result of the widespread adoption of networked technologies with interfaces that are inherently plastic. This paper highlights the importance of educating designers to address complex processes that extend across multiple levels of analysis. Current limitations of user-centered methodologies are articulated in order to clarify ways in which the role of the designer is changing and why it is important for us to reconsider how we train design students. The development of curricula in which processes of innovation are tightly coupled to those of mapping is suggested as a means of addressing these concerns. This systems-oriented approach is exemplified by coursework in which students create interfaces to map socio-technical dynamics of urban environments.
Keywords: Design education, design research, distributed design, mapping, participatory design, user-centered design.