Interaction Design and Architecture(s) (Dec 2021)

Prototyping Inconvenience: A pedagogical experiment on designing for debate in design education

  • Jordi Tost,
  • Paula L. Schuster,
  • Frank Heidmann

Journal volume & issue
no. 51
pp. 81 – 110


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With design having more impact than ever, there is an increased need for critical inquiries into design research and education that engage designers to question established disciplinary assumptions. One prevailing myth is the convenience ideal: the obsession with comfort, efficiency, smoothness, and smartness that relates to a trend of envisioning super-convenient futures. By combining iterative prototyping, anti-solutionist strategies, and tactics of critical and speculative design, we built a counter-approach to conventional design processes: Inconvenient Design. With convenience as the topic for debate, we explored its potential in the course Stranger Things–Prototyping Inconvenience. This paper provides an overview of the approach and course format, using examples of student projects to illustrate how it encouraged them to reflect and debate directly in the design process in a tangible way, enabling them to craft alternatives. Lastly, we discuss the opportunities our methodological approach can bring to design research and education.