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Prototyping Things: Reflecting on Unreported Objects of Design Research for IoT

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nick TaylorORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by ACM, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Prototypes and other ‘things’ have had many uses in HCI research—to help understand a problem, as a stepping stone towards a solution, or as a final outcome of a research process. However, within the messy context of a research through design project, many of these roles do not form part of the final research narratives, restricting the ability of other researchers to learn from this practice. In this paper we revisit prototypes used in three different design research projects, conducted over a period when the Internet of Things emerged into everyday life, exploring complex hidden relationships between the internet, people and physical objects. We aim to explore the unreported roles that prototypes played in these projects, including brokering relationships with participants and deconstructing opaque technologies. We reflect on how these roles align with existing understandings of prototypes in HCI, with particular attention to how these roles can contribute to design around IoT.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Taylor N, Rogers J, Clarke L, Skelly M, Wallace J, Thomas P, George B, Raj R, Shorter M, Thorne M

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: DIS '21: Designing Interactive Systems Conference 2021

Year of Conference: 2021

Pages: 1807-1816

Online publication date: 28/06/2021

Acceptance date: 04/05/2020

Date deposited: 25/10/2021

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/3461778.3462037