University of Oulu

Netta Iivari and Kari Kuutti. 2017. Critical Design Research and Information Technology: Searching for Empowering Design. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 983-993. DOI:

Critical design research and information technology : searching for empowering design

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Author: Iivari, Netta1; Kuutti, Kari1
Organizations: 1INTERACT Research Unit, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Oulu P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Association for Computing Machinery, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-01-23


Critical design arouses increasing interest in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Critical Design is a relatively novel and a contentious design approach within this stream, while also other critical design approaches are emerging in HCI. Information systems research, then again, has been fascinated with critical research for decades and strongly integrated the critical lens into studies on systems development and use. However, critical information systems research is weak in the design practice -- very few studies actually involve design. We argue that combining the forces of these various critical traditions, an empowering approach to design can be developed. A categorization of critical design approaches is proposed and fascinating paths for future work are identified. Particularly we call for future developments on critical design research along two lines: expert-led critical design better integrating the tenets of the critical research tradition and user-led critical design truly advocating the empowerment of the power-weak.

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ISBN: 978-1-4503-4922-2
Pages: 983 - 993
DOI: 10.1145/3064663.3064747
Host publication: Proceeding DIS '17. Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems. Edinburg, UK June 10-14, 2017
Conference: ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: Copyright is held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '17),