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Incorporating Sustainable HCI Research into Design Practice


Remy, Christian. Incorporating Sustainable HCI Research into Design Practice. 2017, University of Zurich, Faculty of Economics.

Abstract

The rapid replacement cycle of consumer electronics, leading to wasteful use of scarce resources and a growing amount of electronic waste, poses a major threat to a sustainable future. Technological advancements of research, such as in Human-Computer Interaction, contribute to this development and therefore have a responsibility to combat those problems. Theoretical research in Sustainable HCI has developed a variety of design principles and frameworks that can be used to address issues of obsolescence; however, they rarely leave the realm of theory and make their way into design practice. This phenomenon is well-known in the general field of HCI, often referred to as the theory-practice gap.
In this thesis, we explore ways to bridge the theory-practice gap and address the obsolescence of consumer electronics by applying Sustainable HCI theory to product design practice. To lay the foundation of our research and understand people’s motivation for replacing products, we conducted a survey and follow-up interviews about the most important factors in people’s decision-making process when purchasing consumer electronics. Based on the insights, we took one of the most established frameworks from Sustainable HCI, the Attachment Framework, and asked product designers to include it into their design process. The Attachment Framework offers a set of principles that lead to a deeper bond between an object and its owner, preventing premature disposal and is a particularly powerful tool due to its emotional appeal.
Through a product design activity with two groups of seven designers, one of which was given the Attachment Framework, we conducted a comparative study to gauge the impact of the Sustainable HCI design principles on the product design process and its outcome. The mixed results led us to formulate a set of challenges for the application of theoretical frameworks to design practice, which we sought to investigate on further by implementing two different approaches: A web tool to organize the results of background research called StickyDesignSpace, and a brainstorming app called InspiredDesign. Our final evaluation yields insights into ways how Sustainable HCI design knowledge can be successfully transferred to practitioners outside of the realm of research.

Abstract

The rapid replacement cycle of consumer electronics, leading to wasteful use of scarce resources and a growing amount of electronic waste, poses a major threat to a sustainable future. Technological advancements of research, such as in Human-Computer Interaction, contribute to this development and therefore have a responsibility to combat those problems. Theoretical research in Sustainable HCI has developed a variety of design principles and frameworks that can be used to address issues of obsolescence; however, they rarely leave the realm of theory and make their way into design practice. This phenomenon is well-known in the general field of HCI, often referred to as the theory-practice gap.
In this thesis, we explore ways to bridge the theory-practice gap and address the obsolescence of consumer electronics by applying Sustainable HCI theory to product design practice. To lay the foundation of our research and understand people’s motivation for replacing products, we conducted a survey and follow-up interviews about the most important factors in people’s decision-making process when purchasing consumer electronics. Based on the insights, we took one of the most established frameworks from Sustainable HCI, the Attachment Framework, and asked product designers to include it into their design process. The Attachment Framework offers a set of principles that lead to a deeper bond between an object and its owner, preventing premature disposal and is a particularly powerful tool due to its emotional appeal.
Through a product design activity with two groups of seven designers, one of which was given the Attachment Framework, we conducted a comparative study to gauge the impact of the Sustainable HCI design principles on the product design process and its outcome. The mixed results led us to formulate a set of challenges for the application of theoretical frameworks to design practice, which we sought to investigate on further by implementing two different approaches: A web tool to organize the results of background research called StickyDesignSpace, and a brainstorming app called InspiredDesign. Our final evaluation yields insights into ways how Sustainable HCI design knowledge can be successfully transferred to practitioners outside of the realm of research.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation
Referees:Huang Elaine May
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Informatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:15 Jan 2018 10:01
Last Modified:30 Jul 2018 05:27
Number of Pages:159
OA Status:Green
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:14773

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