Research Through Design Reading List

After post­ing the list of engi­neer­ing ethics read­ings it occurred to me I also have a real­ly nice col­lec­tion of things to read from a course on research through design taught by Pieter Jan Stap­pers, which I took ear­li­er this year. I fig­ured some might get some use out of it and I like hav­ing it for my own ref­er­ence here as well.

The back­bone for this course is the chap­ter on research through design by Stap­pers and Giac­car­di in the ency­clo­pe­dia of human-com­put­er inter­ac­tion, which I high­ly rec­om­mend.

All of the read­ings below are ref­er­enced in that chap­ter. I’ve read some, quick­ly gut­ted oth­ers for mean­ing and the remain­der is still on my to-read list. For me per­son­al­ly, the things on anno­tat­ed port­fo­lios and inter­me­di­ate-lev­el knowl­edge by Gaver and Löw­gren were the most imme­di­ate­ly use­ful and applic­a­ble. I’d read the Zim­mer­man paper ear­li­er and although it’s pret­ty con­crete in its pre­scrip­tions I did not real­ly latch on to it.

  1. Brandt, Eva, and Thomas Binder. “Exper­i­men­tal design research: geneal­o­gy, inter­ven­tion, argu­ment.” Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Soci­eties of Design Research, Hong Kong 10 (2007).
  2. Gaver, Bill, and John Bow­ers. “Anno­tat­ed port­fo­lios.” inter­ac­tions 19.4 (2012): 40–49.
  3. Gaver, William. “What should we expect from research through design?.” Pro­ceed­ings of the SIGCHI con­fer­ence on human fac­tors in com­put­ing sys­tems. ACM, 2012.
  4. Löw­gren, Jonas. “Anno­tat­ed port­fo­lios and oth­er forms of inter­me­di­ate-lev­el knowl­edge.” Inter­ac­tions 20.1 (2013): 30–34.
  5. Stap­pers, Pieter Jan, F. Sleeswijk Viss­er, and A. I. Keller. “The role of pro­to­types and frame­works for struc­tur­ing explo­rations by research through design.” The Rout­ledge Com­pan­ion to Design Research (2014): 163–174.
  6. Stap­pers, Pieter Jan. “Meta-lev­els in Design Research.”
  7. Stap­pers, Pieter Jan. “Pro­to­types as cen­tral vein for knowl­edge devel­op­ment.” Pro­to­type: Design and craft in the 21st cen­tu­ry (2013): 85–97.
  8. Wensveen, Stephan, and Ben Matthews. “Pro­to­types and pro­to­typ­ing in design research.” The Rout­ledge Com­pan­ion to Design Research. Tay­lor & Fran­cis (2015).
  9. Zim­mer­man, John, Jodi For­l­izzi, and Shel­ley Even­son. “Research through design as a method for inter­ac­tion design research in HCI.” Pro­ceed­ings of the SIGCHI con­fer­ence on Human fac­tors in com­put­ing sys­tems. ACM, 2007.

Bonus lev­el: sev­er­al items relat­ed to “mud­dling through”…

  1. Flach, John M., and Fred Voorhorst. “What mat­ters?: Putting com­mon sense to work.” (2016).
  2. Lind­blom, Charles E. “Still Mud­dling, Not Yet Through.” Pub­lic Admin­is­tra­tion Review 39.6 (1979): 517–26.
  3. Lind­blom, Charles E. “The sci­ence of mud­dling through.” Pub­lic Admin­is­tra­tion Review 19.2 (1959): 79–88.

Engineering Ethics Reading List

I recent­ly fol­lowed an excel­lent three-day course on engi­neer­ing ethics. It was offered by the TU Delft grad­u­ate school and taught by Behnam Taibi with guest lec­tures from sev­er­al of our fac­ul­ty.

I found it par­tic­u­lar­ly help­ful to get some sug­ges­tions for fur­ther read­ing that rep­re­sent some of the foun­da­tion­al ideas in the field. I fig­ured it would be use­ful to oth­ers as well to have a point­er to them.

So here they are. I’ve quick­ly gut­ted these for their mean­ing. The one by Van de Poel I did read entire­ly and can high­ly rec­om­mend for any­one who’s doing design of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies and wants to escape from the informed con­sent conun­drum.

I intend to dig into the Doorn one, not just because she’s one of my pro­mot­ers but also because resilience is a con­cept that is close­ly relat­ed to my own inter­ests. I’ll also get into the Flori­di one in detail but the con­cept of infor­ma­tion qual­i­ty and the care ethics per­spec­tive on the prob­lem of infor­ma­tion abun­dance and atten­tion scarci­ty I found imme­di­ate­ly applic­a­ble in inter­ac­tion design.

  1. Stil­goe, Jack, Richard Owen, and Phil Mac­naght­en. “Devel­op­ing a frame­work for respon­si­ble inno­va­tion.” Research Pol­i­cy 42.9 (2013): 1568–1580.
  2. Van den Hov­en, Jeroen. “Val­ue sen­si­tive design and respon­si­ble inno­va­tion.” Respon­si­ble inno­va­tion (2013): 75–83.
  3. Hans­son, Sven Ove. “Eth­i­cal cri­te­ria of risk accep­tance.” Erken­nt­nis 59.3 (2003): 291–309.
  4. Van de Poel, Ibo. “An eth­i­cal frame­work for eval­u­at­ing exper­i­men­tal tech­nol­o­gy.” Sci­ence and engi­neer­ing ethics22.3 (2016): 667–686.
  5. Hans­son, Sven Ove. “Philo­soph­i­cal prob­lems in cost–benefit analy­sis.” Eco­nom­ics & Phi­los­o­phy 23.2 (2007): 163–183.
  6. Flori­di, Luciano. “Big Data and infor­ma­tion qual­i­ty.” The phi­los­o­phy of infor­ma­tion qual­i­ty. Springer, Cham, 2014. 303–315.
  7. Doorn, Neelke, Pao­lo Gar­doni, and Colleen Mur­phy. “A mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary def­i­n­i­tion and eval­u­a­tion of resilience: The role of social jus­tice in defin­ing resilience.” Sus­tain­able and Resilient Infra­struc­ture (2018): 1–12.

We also got a draft of the intro chap­ter to a book on engi­neer­ing and ethics that Behnam is writ­ing. That looks very promis­ing as well but I can’t share yet for obvi­ous rea­sons.

Starting a PhD

Today is the first offi­cial work day of my new doc­tor­al researcher posi­tion at Delft Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy. After more than two years of lay­ing the ground work, I’m start­ing out on a new chal­lenge.

I remem­ber sit­ting out­side a Jew­el cof­fee bar in Sin­ga­pore1 and going over the var­i­ous options for what­ev­er would be next after shut­ting down Hub­bub. I knew I want­ed to delve into the impact of machine learn­ing and data sci­ence on inter­ac­tion design. And large­ly through process of elim­i­na­tion I felt the best place for me to do so would be inside of acad­e­mia.

Back in the Nether­lands, with help from Ianus Keller, I start­ed mak­ing inroads at TU Delft, my first choice for this kind of work. I had vis­it­ed it on and off over the years, coach­ing stu­dents and doing guest lec­tures. I’d felt at home right away.

There were quite a few twists and turns along the way but now here we are. Start­ing this month I am a doc­tor­al can­di­date at Delft Uni­ver­si­ty of Technology’s fac­ul­ty of Indus­tri­al Design Engi­neer­ing.

My research is pro­vi­sion­al­ly titled ‘Intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty and Trans­paren­cy of Smart Pub­lic Infra­struc­tures: A Design Ori­ent­ed Approach’. Its main object of study is the MX3D smart bridge. My super­vi­sors are Gerd Kortuem and Neelke Doorn. And it’s all part of the NWO-fund­ed project ‘BRIdg­ing Data in the built Envi­ron­ment (BRIDE)’.

Below is a first rough abstract of the research. But in the months to come this is like­ly to change sub­stan­tial­ly as I start ham­mer­ing out a prop­er research plan. I plan to post the occa­sion­al update on my work here, so if you’re inter­est­ed your best bet is prob­a­bly to do the old RSS thing. There’s social media too, of course. And I might set up a newslet­ter at some point. We’ll see.

If any of this res­onates, do get in touch. I’d love to start a con­ver­sa­tion with as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble about this stuff.

Intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty and Trans­paren­cy of Smart Pub­lic Infra­struc­tures: A Design Ori­ent­ed Approach

This phd will explore how design­ers, tech­nol­o­gists, and cit­i­zens can uti­lize rapid urban man­u­fac­tur­ing and IoT tech­nolo­gies for design­ing urban space that express­es its intel­li­gence from the inter­sec­tion of peo­ple, places, activ­i­ties and tech­nol­o­gy, not mere­ly from the pres­ence of cut­ting-edge tech­nol­o­gy. The key ques­tion is how smart pub­lic infra­struc­ture, i.e. data-dri­ven and algo­rithm-rich pub­lic infra­struc­tures, can be under­stood by lay-peo­ple.

The design-ori­ent­ed research will uti­lize a ‘research through design’ approach to devel­op a dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence around the bridge and the sur­round­ing urban space. Dur­ing this extend­ed design and mak­ing process the phd stu­dent will con­duct empir­i­cal research to inves­ti­gate design choic­es and their impli­ca­tions on (1) new forms of par­tic­i­pa­to­ry data-informed design process­es, (2) the tech­nol­o­gy-medi­at­ed expe­ri­ence of urban space, (3) the emerg­ing rela­tion­ship between res­i­dents and “their” bridge, and (4) new forms of data-informed, cit­i­zen led gov­er­nance of pub­lic space.

  1. My Foursquare his­to­ry and 750 Words archive tell me this was on Sat­ur­day, Jan­u­ary 16, 2016. []

Status update

This is not exact­ly a now page, but I thought I would write up what I am doing at the moment since last report­ing on my sta­tus in my end-of-year report.

The major­i­ty of my work­days are spent doing free­lance design con­sult­ing. My pri­ma­ry gig has been through Eend at the Dutch Vic­tim Sup­port Foun­da­tion, where until very recent­ly I was part of a team build­ing online ser­vices. I helped out with prod­uct strat­e­gy, set­ting up a lean UX design process, and get­ting an inte­grat­ed agile design and devel­op­ment team up and run­ning. The first ser­vices are now ship­ping so it is time for me to move on, after 10 months of very grat­i­fy­ing work. I real­ly enjoy work­ing in the pub­lic sec­tor and I hope to be doing more of it in future.

So yes, this means I am avail­able and you can hire me to do strat­e­gy and design for soft­ware prod­ucts and ser­vices. Just send me an email.

Short­ly before the Dutch nation­al elec­tions of this year, Iskan­der and I gath­ered a group of fel­low tech work­ers under the ban­ner of “Tech Sol­i­dar­i­ty NL to dis­cuss the con­cern­ing lurch to the right in nation­al pol­i­tics and what our field can do about it. This has devel­oped into a small but active com­mu­ni­ty who gath­er month­ly to edu­cate our­selves and devel­op plans for col­lec­tive action. I am get­ting a huge boost out of this. Fig­ur­ing out how to be a left­ist in this day and age is not easy. The only way to do it is to prac­tice and for that reflec­tion with peers is invalu­able. Build­ing and facil­i­tat­ing a group like this is huge­ly edu­ca­tion­al too. I have learned a lot about how a com­mu­ni­ty is boot-strapped and nur­tured.

If you are in the Nether­lands, your pol­i­tics are left of cen­ter, and you work in tech­nol­o­gy, con­sid­er your­self invit­ed to join.

And final­ly, the last major thing on my plate is a con­tin­u­ing effort to secure a PhD posi­tion for myself. I am get­ting great sup­port from peo­ple at Delft Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy, in par­tic­u­lar Gerd Kortuem. I am focus­ing on inter­net of things prod­ucts that have fea­tures dri­ven by machine learn­ing. My ulti­mate aim is to devel­op pro­to­typ­ing tools for design and devel­op­ment teams that will help them cre­ate more inno­v­a­tive and more eth­i­cal solu­tions. The first step for this will be to con­duct field research inside com­pa­nies who are cre­at­ing such prod­ucts right now. So I am reach­ing out to peo­ple to see if I can secure a rea­son­able amount of poten­tial col­lab­o­ra­tors for this, which will go a long way in prov­ing the fea­si­bil­i­ty of my whole plan.

If you know of any com­pa­nies that devel­op con­sumer-fac­ing prod­ucts that have a con­nect­ed hard­ware com­po­nent and make use of machine learn­ing to dri­ve fea­tures, do let me know.

That’s about it. Free­lance UX con­sult­ing, left­ist tech-work­er organ­is­ing and design-for-machine-learn­ing research. Quite hap­py with that mix, real­ly.