Worth Reading: "The Product Ecology: Understanding Social Product Use and Supporting Design Culture"
26 May 2008 - 7:10pm
The field of interaction design has broadened its focus from issues
surrounding one person interacting with one system to how systems are
socially and culturally situated among groups of people. To understand
the situations surrounding product use interaction design researchers
have turned to qualitative, ethnographic research methods. However,
stripped from underlying theory, these methods can be prescriptive at
This paper introduces Product Ecology as a theoretical design
framework to describe how products evoke social behavior, to provide a
roadmap for choosing appropriate qualitative research methods and to
extend design culture within HCI by allowing for flexible,
design-centered research planning and opportunity-seeking. This
product-centered framework is illustrated as a method for selecting a
set of design research methods and for working with other research
approaches that study people in naturalistic settings.