one of the three manifestos: Ludic design, Ambiguity as a design resource, and Reflective Design
1. p. 49
These critiques made it possible to
question why particular aspects of human life were left out
of design, to discuss whether or not they should be, and to
begin to imagine new HCI methods that could more
adequately address important parts of human experience.
Rather than focusing
on a particular assumption, we argue that critical reflection
itself, can and should be a core principle of technology
design for identifying blind spots and opening new design
3. p. 50
reflection on the limitations of the field's methods and
metaphors can help us to see the world in a new way,
identifying and weighing new technical possibilities.
We believe that, for those
concerned about the social implications of the technologies
we build, reflection itself should be a core technology
design outcome for HCI.
We define 'reflection' as referring to critical reflection, or
bringing unconscious aspects of experience to conscious
awareness, thereby making them available for
Additionally, reflection is not a
purely cognitive activity, but is folded into all our ways
of seeing and experiencing the world. Unconsciously
held assumptions are not things we rationally know; they
are part of our very identity and the ways we experience
Foundations of Reflective Design:
1. Participatory Design
2. Value-Sensitive Design
3. Critical Design
4. Ludic Design
5. Critical Technical Practice
7. p. 50
From participatory design, we draw several core principles,
most notably the reflexive recognition of the politics of
design practice and a desire to speak to the needs of
multiple constituencies in the design process.
8. p. 51
PD strategies tend to be used
to support existing practices identified collaboratively by
users and designers as a design-worthy project.
values clashes between designers and different users can be
elucidated in this collaboration, the values which users and
designers share do not necessarily go examined. For
reflective design to function as a design practice that opens
new cultural possibilities, however, we need to question
values which we may unconsciously hold in common.
To do so, VSD employs three methods:
(1) conceptual investigations drawing on moral philosophy,
which identify stakeholders, fundamental values, and tradeoffs among values pertinent to the design;
investigations using social-science methods to uncover
how stakeholders think about and act with respect to the
values involved in the system;
(3) and technical investigations
which explore the links between specific technical
decisions and the values and practices they aid and hinder.
Inspiringly for us, VSD brings values questions into the
design practice, not just from what stakeholders want but
based on deeper questions about what values should be
thought about and what values are, consciously or
unconsciously, shaping the design. For Friedman et al., the
core values to examine and include are values related to
human justice, well-being, welfare, and rights. While these
values are important for us, we propose critical reflection in
and of itself as a core value for technology design.
11. Critical Design
A critical designer designs
objects not to do what users want and value, but to
introduce both designers and users to new ways of looking
at the world and the role that designed objects can play for
them in it.
It uses the
critical design strategy of ‘value fictions:’ as opposed to
science fiction, which assumes existing values while
projecting new technology into the future, value fictions
assume existing technology but project a new set of values
that are embodied in them.
13. Ludic Design
recognizes that playful or ludic activities are not merely a
matter of entertainment, or a waste of time, but can be a
‘mechanism for developing new values and goals, for
learning new things and for achieving new understandings’
. Ludic design promotes engagement in the exploration
and production of meaning, providing for curiosity,
exploration and reflection as key values. In other words,
ludic design focuses on reflection and engagement through
the experience of using the designed object.
14. p. 52
In the context of HCI, ludic design explores the limits of
technology design practice - what it is we may design for,
what methods we may use - by proposing a specific set of
values that contrast sharply with those currently at the
center of technical practice: functionality, efficiency,
optimality, task focus.
15. Critical Technical Practice (CTP)
Briefly, CTP consists of the following moves:
the core metaphors of the field, noticing what, when
working within those metaphors, remains marginalized,
(2) inverting the dominant metaphors to bring that margin to
(3) and embodying the alternative as a new
technology. Agre sees CTP as a way to solve recurring
technical impasses by enabling reflection on, and
potentially alteration to, the core metaphors that structure a
In this work, CTP functioned to bring to
the fore and make technically meaningful aspects of human
activity that were previously marginalized from design.
All designs have centers and margins, all are
based to some degree on a constitutive metaphor. The
process of exploring the limits of design need not wait until
a technical impasse requires reflection.
Schön’s metaphor of conversation with the situation shares
similarities with current experience-focused approaches in
HCI. McCarthy and Wright , for example, propose that
design should avoid the reification (具體化) of experience and
instead support the dialogical nature, i.e. the emergent
unfolding of experience. They illustrate the tension
between theorizing experience as a static or known
phenomenon and the practice of leaving room for change
and the unknowable.
19. p. 53.
Finally, we draw from the
observation that reflection is often triggered by an element
of surprise, where someone moves from knowing-inaction, operating within the status quo, to reflection-inaction, puzzling out what to do next or why the status quo
has been disrupted . We expand on reflection-in-action
by not waiting for surprise to occur but by intervening to
create or stimulate these reflection triggers.
design integrates, but does not replace, these other rich
21. p. 54
In designing for marginal experiences,
we wanted visitors and curators to reflect on these underdesigned for aspects.
For CTP, there was no technological impasse to overcome,
handheld tour guides deliver information reasonably well.
With PD or VSD, visitors or curators would have had to
initially ask for alternate experiences with technology. Our
argument is that the marginal experiences are so implicit
that their value may not be accounted for until experienced
in alternate ways.
consisted of open-ended questions inspired by cultural
probes  and Likkert-scale questions about the users’
relationship, about their attitude and use of the VIO, and
about the study.
24. Anticipatory framing:
For example, we asked
users when they used their IO, what sound it would make if
it could make one, and to draw a picture of what their ideal
IO would look like.
25. p. 55
This question gave an opportunity
for users to express both their enthusiasm and their
skepticism with the intimate objects, but in an interesting
Finally, we included questions asking our users to reflect
on the study itself. Some were short-answer questions,
which still gave us a strong impression of how some of our
users felt: "What would you name the people conducting
this research?" gave answers as varied as "Mysterious
Watchers" and "Intimacy Dream Team".
One user accused us of
"Creating computer dependency and spreading and
marketing it to the general public". We found this
(hopefully good-natured) skepticism a sign that we were
successful in encouraging reflection.
diaries gave us both a strong understanding of the
phenomenological or felt experience of VIO use as well as
a concrete understanding of our next steps in the project.
28. p. 57.
An interpretively flexible system, where
meaning is co-constructed by users and designers, does not
have an a priori benchmark of what works. We want to
evaluate our systems phenomenologically, i.e. allow for
new interpretations and uses, yet we still want to be able to
identify when and how a design has failed.
Reflective design is a set of design principles and strategies
that guide designers in rethinking dominant metaphors and
values and engaging users in this same critical practice.