Burnout is an occupational phenomenon often resulting in job turnover, excessive absenteeism, and physical and emotional symptoms that have significant financial implications on businesses. While office burnout has been widely investigated among human-service occupations, there is a lack of empirical research on burnout among designers and the organizations and conditions in which they work. Using design-thinking strategies, the purpose of this research study was to explore burnout among designers in the workplace and propose solutions. This investigation was divided into three parts using a purposive sample of animation, architectural, experience (UI/UX), fashion, graphic, industrial, interior, instructional, motion graphics, and web designers and educators working full-time in private- and public-sector companies and institutions. Part one involved an online survey (n = 150), interviews (n = 18), and journaling (n = 4). Findings were analyzed using affinity clustering to determine common themes and generate persona profiles of designers at risk of or experiencing burnout. Part two consisted of a design-thinking workshop with a group of designers (n = 11) that critiqued the personas and prototyped solutions for alleviating and preventing burnout. In part three, 2 designers with over 20 years of experience were interviewed to gain insight on their experiences with burnout to inform future research. Results found that the majority of designers in the study had experienced burnout at some point in their careers. Solutions proposed for alleviating and preventing burnout were focused on better communication, leadership support, managing workload and expectations, and establishing company fit within an organization.
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session Terry Londy
Urban designer Kevin Lynch explored architectural forms and their influence on visual perception at the city scale (Lynch, 1960). His strategy can be employed for large-scale campus-size and much smaller environments shaping how spaces are engaged & navigated. Based on Lynch’s principles, navigation design and the building of branded experiences begins with a critical mapping exercise where pathways, edges, nodes, landmarks, and districts are identified highlighting impactful brand locations and defining key user decision moments. Skillful application of this strategy ideally results in (2) outcomes. The brand becomes tangible, and experiential, making a unique lasting connection with the user. • The wayfinding is inclusive, brand consistent, and seamless with the architecture. The paper examines the brand and wayfinding strategy for (3) built projects of varying scale and typology. The design projects listed were selected because of the familiarity of the presenter with the projects as a core member of each of the design teams. P1 – Pinecrest, Orange, OH | Eleven-building Mixed-use site with vehicular and pedestrian navigation. P2 – Lakeshore East, Chicago, IL | Two-building residential site with living spaces, shared amenity deck, and multilevel parking P3 – Dayton’s, Minneapolis, MN, a repositioned historical building with retail and an elevated skyway for pedestrian navigation. The projects analyze and dissect the Lynch urban model used for wayfinding strategy and brand implementation. The project typologies recognize the scalability of the strategy and the role of the five principles applied to the user perception of their environment.
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session Eugene Park
Data visualization is a perennial challenge that offers unique opportunities in analysis and storytelling. Similar to how texts from social media posts and news headlines can be analyzed and visualized, it is possible to apply similar techniques with videoconferencing transcripts and journal manuscripts. This paper presents two case studies in applying visualization methods using text-based data. The first case study visualized videoconferencing transcripts between design professors and practitioners through human participants assigning and aggregating keywords to enrich the dataset. The second case study utilized automation to visualize abstracts published by select design journals from the past two years. These two approaches will be compared to discuss the advantages and challenges associated with algorithm-driven efficiency and bias in data visualization. The outcomes of these endeavors reveal how visualizing dialogues and manuscripts can unveil narratives and insights that might have been missed in other modalities. By extracting the top keywords in a body of abstracts and transcripts, it was possible to see the collective areas of expertise, trending research topics in design, as well as knowledge gaps in the venues where the source text was extracted from. Ultimately, these projects raise questions on the assumptions behind data visualization outcomes and processes. What are the limitations of visualizations for topic modeling? What are the advantages and disadvantages of relying on machine learning algorithms in topic modeling? And how can humans and algorithms work together to promote learning experiences? These are some of the major questions that are explored through this study.
Self-explaining Objects: Design Research on Tactile Experiences with Analogue, Virtual, and Hybrid Surfaces View Digital Media
Surface design is often paradoxically neglected as a touchpoint of the embodied experience in the living tension of hybrid, virtual as well as real designed objects. The paradox consists in the fact that even though touch and haptic perception convey the “sensibility of the individual to the world adjacent to his body by use of his body” (Gibson, 1966), surfaces are not at the heart of interaction design studies, quite extensively focused on interfaces on one hand, and on full body interaction on the other. This design research investigates the expressive, informative and functional values of analogue, virtual and hybrid surfaces in order to explore the self-explaining material and immaterial (digital) nature of objects. We asked ourselves how self-explaining objects provide guidance to human action by the information that might be conveyed, embedded and communicated by their surface. Our approach includes explicit and intentional information, as well as tacit information that might be evoked by the haptic qualities of the objects. The research case analysis demonstrates that tactile experiences with analogue, virtual, and hybrid surfaces might both anticipate human action, by providing information before it takes place, and enrich the ongoing activity providing contingent guidance both locally and at a distance.
The Design Apparatus: A Pragmatist Critique of Design Culture, Theory, and Practice View Digital Media
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session James Rudolph
Over the past several decades, the practice of design has benefited from tremendous growth in interest and application. The expanding interest has spawned a corresponding advancement in the number of design process theories and methods. Despite design’s recent expansion, analysis of design culture – the things we think, say, and do – reveals a converging philosophical agreement. As a community of practice, we share similar objectives, promote shared principles, utilize consistent methods, and often adhere to analogous design process frameworks. A careful analysis of design discourse reveals a culture of redundancy and accepted truisms. We are largely saying the same thing. While this converging philosophical trajectory may appear to be a positive transcendence towards creating a stable, agreed upon body of knowledge, the results are concerning. The design hegemony has not only disenfranchised members of the community (Bethune, 2022), but has led to stale aesthetic and experiential paradigms that speak only to those in power. These concerns will be explored in three phases: 1) I provide a critical assessment of design culture today - the cultural norms and truisms. 2) Next, I explore the results of design culture on felt experience, arguing the current ecology has created stagnant aesthetic paradigms and community disenfranchisement. 3) Finally, I turn to John Dewey and Pragmatist Theory to share thoughts for how the design apparatus can evolve towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture, one that creates more thoughtful and engaging aesthetic experiences.