Design is commonly, and correctly, represented as a problem-solving and production-oriented activity. Less commonly grasped, however, are the ways in which design processes and forms are also useful as tools for understanding problems, anticipating issues, imagining alternatives, and addressing concerns in ways that may not readily result in an implemented solution or scaleable product. In this talk, I will present examples from my design research practice that illustrate how design can be used as a mode and product of inquiry applicable to a wide range of timely and challenging social issues. Building upon research through design approaches to interaction design and human-computer interaction (HCI), I discuss three research programs I have led over the past decade applying design to the domains of environmental sustainability, digital overload, and privacy, security and data ethics.
James Pierce is an Assistant Professor in Interaction Design at the University of Washington. Working at the intersection of interaction design and human-computer interaction (HCI), his research integrates designing and making with qualitative empirical research, and theoretical and critical analyses. Funded by the National Science Foundation and Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, Pierce’s current research addresses privacy, security, and ethical challenges related to interactive, networked, and data-enabled technologies. James is currently a research affiliate at the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. Previously, James was an Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts.