theory

Anticipating Connectivity in (UX) Design Practices: Reframing Challenges by Introducing Theory Cards

METTE GISLEV KJÆRSGAARD Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark WAFA SAID MOSLEH Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark JACOB BUUR Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark JESSICA SORENSON Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark This paper presents a design anthropological study with User Experience design departments from five large companies in Denmark, ranging from manufacturers of medical equipment through toys to control systems for industrial infrastructures. We explore the challenges they face as products, services, and user research are increasingly connected. Our research shows that current methods, development processes, and organizational structures do not sufficiently support User Experience design teams in dealing with emerging design and organizational challenges that follow from increased digitalization. As a result, UX designers are struggling to anticipate the future of product interaction,...

How Theory Matters: Benjamin, Foucault, and Quantified Self—Oh My!

by JAMIE SHERMAN, Intel Corporation For many anthropologists and ethnographers—and particularly those of us based in the US, where the self and its adherent freedoms and choices have long been a core cultural construct—the self is frequently at the center of our studies. Indeed we are often in a privileged position from which to critique and dismantle notions of self that are too easy, too pat, too unified. But increasing penetration of data into the domain of the “personal” and to the management and care of the self suggest that something is afoot in how the self is understood, experienced, and practiced more broadly. As an anthropologist working for a technology company, understanding this shift becomes important as we design for a world in which data plays new roles and gains different valences than it once had. While the future remains an open question, social science theory helps ground present uncertainties in historical trajectories and suggests key directions for research and design that intersect these changes. Just...

Clear Theory for Clear People: Three Ideas for Advancing Theory in the EPIC Community Written in a “Non-theoretical” Way

by PEDRO OLIVEIRA, Independent Research Consultant As a young social scientist I used to be incredibly attracted to dense theoretical texts in anthropology, psychology and the social sciences in general. I equated thickness of language to complexity of thought. I no longer do. When I truly disowned the belief that obscure language hides complex thinking, I had two choices—either let go of theory altogether or develop a different appetite for it. I developed an appetite for clear theory and clear language. Theory in business research, even when informed by the social sciences, demands clarity. At this point in our development as a business research community informed by social sciences, new theory is essential. If we are to overcome the still-dominant view in academia that our work is merely a practical “derivate” of more erudite scholarship in universities, we should invest in our own theory. Many of us are doing this work: it is showcased every year at EPIC and collected online in EPIC’s Intelligences [www.epicpeople.org],...