The psychological experience of user observation

Elizabeth M Gerber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

While scholars have studied what design practices accomplish, few have considered the psychological experience of practicing design and the implications for completing their work. An eighteen-month ethnographic study of a high-tech firm examined the psychological experience of design work, specifically how people experience user observation. The study finds that when people observe others in context, they engage in a state of exploration. Regular observation supports curiosity, or the tendency to focus attention and seek answers to unanswered questions. Focused attention fosters commitment to the design problem. Results suggest how design work practices can be designed to help employees to reduce anxiety about the unknown, an inherent feature of the design process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design
Pages468-479
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Event18th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 11 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: Aug 15 2011Aug 18 2011

Publication series

NameICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design
Volume7

Other

Other18th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 11
CountryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period8/15/118/18/11

Keywords

  • Design cognition
  • Design practice
  • Job design
  • Psychology of design
  • User observation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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