“Making Use” article published in Computational Making Special Issue, Design Studies journal

destud_thvardMy article “Making Use: Attitudes to Human-Artifact Engagements” was published after double blind peer review in the Special Issue on Computational Making of the Design Studies journal, that I co-edited with Prof. Terry Knight. You can view the Special Issue’s seven original research papers and Editorial by following this link. For those interested in user-centered and participatory design, take a look at ginger coons’ and Matt Ratto’s (U. Toronto) paper on prosthetics and grease pencils, and my article on theories of function and use. In my article I discuss two key concepts in participatory design and design theory at large: function and use.


Abstract: “Function” and “use” are keywords that design researchers customarily employ when referring to human-artifact engagements. However, there is little consensus about how the concepts of function and use relate to each other, to the intentions of “designers” and “users”, or to their actions and encompassing contexts. In this paper, I synthesize literature from design research, material culture studies, design anthropology, and function theory in order to critically compare different attitudes to human-artifact engagements, implicit in characterizations of function and use. I identify design-centric, communicative, and use-centric attitudes, and discuss their assumptions and implications for design theory. I conclude by outlining principles for theoretically and computationally approaching use as an embodied and temporally contingent process – as a form of “making”.

You can access the full paper with login credentials from the Design Studies website by following this link.