Knowledge, Technology & Policy

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 193–200 | Cite as

Why Research-Oriented Design Isn’t Design-Oriented Research: On the Tensions Between Design and Research in an Implicit Design Discipline

  • Daniel Fallman
Original Paper


Human–computer interaction (HCI) is the discipline concerned with the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computing systems. Unlike many empirical sciences, HCI researchers do not typically solely study existing technologies, styles of interaction, or interface solutions. On the contrary, one of the core activities in contemporary HCI is to design new technologies – in the form of software and hardware prototypes – that act as vehicles through which HCI researchers’ ideas materialize and take on concrete form. Despite this situation, there is a very modest discussion in the discipline on the role of design as an activity in the research process; whether or not HCI could in fact be better understood as a design discipline than as an empirical science; and if, and if so how, the design element in HCI goes with its empirical claims.


Design Human–computer interaction Research-oriented design Design-oriented research Theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Umeå Institute of Design & Department of InformaticsUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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