Aesthetic, Functional and Conceptual Provocation in Research Through Design

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Recently within HCI, design approaches have appeared, which deviate from traditional ones. Among them critical design introduces deliberate provocations in order to challenge established perceptions and practices. We have engaged ourselves with this design approach out of interest in understanding how to use provocation in research through design. Towards this end, we report on a field study with four families that used an aesthetically, functionally and conceptually provocative future probe. The purpose of the probe was to challenge existing energy consuming practices through provocation and make its users reflect on them. The paper describes how all three provocative aspects were addressed, and our findings demonstrate how they were experienced in the real world, and how they impacted our research through design approach. We conclude by presenting reflections on how to design provocations, and reflections on the impact of provocations for research through design in general.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS '17, Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-4922-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems: Space, Place and Interface - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Jun 201714 Jun 2017


Conference2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Provocation
  • aesthetic
  • functional
  • conceptual
  • research through design
  • criticality
  • critical design
  • critical-technical practice


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