Master Thesis: Everyday Design: Comparing Families, Hobbyist Jewellers and Steampunk Enthusiasts

My master thesis topic is related to practices of appropriation and design-in-use. In design, appropriation is described as how people use artifacts or systems in new and other ways different from the designers intentions. For example, people hang their jacket on the back of chairs everyday even though the designers did not plan for this specific function. As a designer, I am highly interested in understanding how people can be amateur designers in their everyday lives.

This thesis reports on a descriptive multiple-case study that portrays the practices of three groups of everyday designers as a way to inform the design of interactive technologies. Previous research describes cases of appropriation and everyday design where people creatively transform and adapt design artifacts; however, there is still a gap in our understanding of how individuals precisely design and make things.

The aim of this study is to discern the similarities and differences between the practices of the selected cases of everyday designers: family members, hobbyist jewellers, and steampunk enthusiasts. Based on the theory of practice, the analytical framework combines goals, outcomes, materials, tools, competences, and strategies to holistically describe those cases of everyday design.

The findings point to a reconfiguration of how objects and technologies should be designed, but also a reflection on how designers can create materials, tools, and structures to support heterogeneous and creative design practices.

This research also lead to different research projects and publications in relation to the craft and Maker culture and about the Steampunk ideology:

_ Wakkary, R., Desjardins, A., Hauser, S. and Maestri, L. (2013).
A Sustainable Design Fiction: Green Practices, In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), Special Issue: Sustainable HCI through Everyday Practices. 20, no.4 (September 2013), ACM Press. 23:1-23:34.
_ Desjardins, A. and Wakkary, R. (2013). Manifestations of Everyday Design: Guiding Goals and Motivations, Proc C&C 2013, New York, ACM Press, 253-262.
_ Tanenbaum, J., Williams, A., Desjardins, A., and Tanenbaum, K. (2013). Democratizing Technology: Pleasure, Utility and Expressiveness in DIY and Maker Practice, Proc CHI 2013, New York, ACM Press, 2603-2612.
_ Tanenbaum, J., Desjardins, A., and Tanenbaum, K. (2013). Steampunking Interaction Design: Principles for Envisioning through Imaginative Practice, Interactions Magazine 20, 3, ACM Press, 28-33.