Interaction 20, Milan, Italy - Naver Labs Europe
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2nd-7th February 2020
Interaction 20 is dedicated to design and its consequences and gathers a unique mix of professionals from academia, industry, and the public sector to explore the current state of design education.

3rd February, 11:00:

Danilo Gallo: Reflections from “the Gap” – Shifting from Practice to Research and the Role of Education in Bridging the Gap

Abstract: The gap between design research and practice is a topic that has been at the center of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community discussions for years. While industry-academy collaborations have been successful in creating spaces for joint activities, such as short-term design-workshops and corporate grants, these initiatives do not seem to have a widespread impact on the transfer of knowledge between both communities at a more granular level. As UX designers who shifted from practice to the research domain, we found ourselves at the center of this gap. This change meant adapting to new objectives, methods, communities, and information sources. It was surprising to discover this new world after having studied and practiced design for over 10 years. Through these years, we have been in contact with designers from various countries, different backgrounds and types of organizations, but we never came across the work of a large community of design researchers exploring highly relevant topics for our activity. There are several barriers that prevent design practitioners from making an effective use of this information, ranging from difficulties accessing the resources to the writing style of academic publications. Researchers are working to improve these aspects and some of the most important institutions in the HCI field are taking actions in the same direction. While further work and a joint effort from both communities is needed to close this gap, we believe that design education can play a role in start bringing them closer. During this talk, we will introduce the topic, analyze the current situation and existing initiatives focusing on addressing the issue. We will look at our personal experience shifting from practice to research, and describe the initial steps that we believe design educators could take to help designers leverage the information produced by researchers and bring the two areas closer.