Bridging Research and Practice: A Theoretical and Empirical Mapping of Design Space using Solo Travel Domain
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Although researchers have developed a myriad of theories, methods, and tools for interactive design, there remains a large divide between scholarly research and design practice. This divide stems from differences in academics’ and design practitioners’ training, communication, and even the venues in which they choose to present their work. This dissertation features an empirical investigation to help bridge this divide. I explore new ways of incorporating research and theory into interactive design, through three projects in the context of solo travel. The projects are based on over 65 hours of in-depth interviews with 21 solo travelers, and are complemented by over 100 hours of observation and participation in solo travel-related events and meet-ups. I used the findings to develop a novel, two-dimensional analytical design process, embodied in a matrix. The matrix dynamically maps theory with qualitative research and creates a design space articulation that provides designers with a way to identify new design ideas, externalize these developments, and share their work with others. I demonstrate the matrix’s utility by discussing how it helped 16 designers collaborate to develop new interactive technology opportunities in the solo travel domain. Applications for how this matrix may be used with other theoretical and normative domains are discussed.