Knowing (by) Designing edition:1 location:Brussels date:22-23 July 2013
Although the connection of making and knowledge may seem self-evident for a designer, we experienced in developing an educational design research course at Media, Arts & Design Faculty (Genk, Belgium), that when design and research are intertwined, students tend to lose their focus on making. Therefore, this paper explores how the intertwining of making and reflecting can be more explicitly supported throughout the process. We propose to use playful design representations throughout the design process to mediate this interaction between making and reflecting. Elaborating on Buckland (1991), Visser (2011), Suchman (1995) and Palmer (1978), we describe design representations as representations, descriptions, interpretations of (elements of) a design, e.g. field studies, experiments, prototypes. They are made by designers throughout the making process, and used within collaborative settings to enable communication among participants via confronting their reflections in making. We argue that making design representations stimulates iterations and immersion, and in combination with rules of play, reflection and making are even better intertwined. This paper documents the findings and conclusions, which we have drawn from empirical use in our student course, and give an overview of literature on the current uses of design representations and their attempts to combine making and reflecting.