Prototyping beyond the norm – Lecture

As we were previously introduced prototypes are being used to explore and the improve the idea of the design we have. We can use them to collect feedback from the users, which allows us to see it from different angles. They are very important part of every project we work on.
On one hand we should know how to defend our idea in front of others but we also should be self critical and accept critique from other people. Critical design is about problem finding rather than problem solving. It doesn’t look at design as a process but rather as a medium. It focuses on the person, not the user.

Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby , are known for Critical design. They took the industrial design and questioned for what it stands for and it’s values.

Affirmative design – design that reinforces that status quo.
Critical design – “It is more of an attitude than anything else, a position rather than a method. ” (Dunne & Raby, 2009). It rejects how things are and provides alternative values.

Image from:

There are few different critiques of critical design. Is critical design critical? How is it done? Who decides on what is affirmative design? Is it needed? Is it design? What are it’s privileges? These questions do not offer solutions, but open the door for more questions.

Speculative approaches – It might be presented as a “workbook”. The concepts, embodied as sketches or prototypes, as placeholders. As Gaver & Martin explain the concepts are presented as fictional products, which encourages people to imagine living with them, which raises many sort of reactions that might be encountered if they actually existed. Speculative design have tendency to focus on science and technology.

Design Fiction – It present’s the interplay between science fiction and science fact. It presents sketching about the future without thinking if that is technologically possible. It also can be used to draw people into in order to help them relate to the world. The ideas can come from the world which might lead to new possibilities.

Notes taken from Clint Heyer’s slides “Beyond the norm”


  • A/B, A Manifesto, Dunne & Raby (2009)
  • Bardzell, J., & Bardzell, S. (2013). What is “critical” about critical design? In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’13 (p. 3297). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.

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