A Practitioner’s View of Human–Computer Interaction Research and Practice
Namahn, a Belgian User Centered Design consultancy, describes the approach it took in radically renewing its methods and techniques to tackle interaction design for critical systems. At the heart of its effort, lies the tension between research and practice and the challenge of transforming research findings into a market-worthy methodology. Namahn chose an inherently distributed approach, grounded in the company’s experience, using the appropriate communication tools. The article describes a two-year project for the regional government’s research and innovation program. During the first phase of the project, Namahn discovered a number of important new concepts and methodological hypotheses. These concepts, which grew out of a review of the research literature on models, theories, and frameworks in Human-Computer Interaction, are becoming part of Namahn’s extended vocabulary, aimed at enhancing the company’s internal communication about the design process. The initial methodological hypotheses on risk assessment and design rationale form the basis of its new methodology, which will be constructed in a bottom-up fashion based on case studies in the project’s second phase. Namahn presents concerns and opens issues that arose during the project, which it is exploring as a way to go forward in integrating research findings into the practice of user-centered design (UCD).
best practices; consultancy; critical systems; theory; user-centered design (UCD)