Wright et al. (2006) User Experience and the Idea of Design in HCI

Wright et al. argue for new approaches for ideas of design in HCI based on the evolving concept of user. The proposition of the article is twofold: 1) there is a need for design-as-craft approach for complementing prevailing design-as-engineering approach, 2) there is a need for radically interdisciplinary dialogue in HCI design.

The argument of the paper is based on the changes in HCI design and the problems that occur when the traditional/prevailing design-as-engineering approach is used in these new circumstances. Emergence of the concept of UX and designing for UX are used as examples on how the act of designing and the concept of user have changed during last few years. In UX discussion user is someone who has an experience with or through the technology while the user used to be someone who just engages in dialogue with the system. In pre-UX world an engineering approach to HCI design worked quite well. However, the engineering approach misses some of the key aspects of UX. For example, the engineering approach separates form and content, behavior and emotion and aesthetics and function while the quality of experience is related to the interplay between them.

Though, the authors propose a new design approach, they do not wish to replace the old one(s). Instead, they see a demand for better dialogue between approaches and disciplines. The authors see discipline such as sociology, psychology and english literature as potential basis for understanding humans in human computer interaction and craft disciplines as basis for building new applications. Because both sides are needed, there is a need for good interdisciplinary dialogue.

Wright, P., Blythe, M. & McCarthy, J. (2006) User Experience and the Idea of Design in HCI. In S. Gilroy & M. Harrison (eds.) Interactive Systems. Design, Specification, and Verification, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg. pp. 1-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/11752707_1