This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Approach to Assist Designers Collaborating with Scientific Researchers towards the Development of Experimental Tools and Practices




Zhang, Yimeng

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Industrial and Graphic Design


Since consumer experience shifts from mass consumption to context and personalization consumption, we are now focusing on the ecosystem of services, experience and solution instead of only paying attention to the product itself. Openness as one of the methods enables possibilities for a set of open practices. These practices can achieve additional benefits and solve needs based on context and personal needs of others who are outside of the current closed development system. Currently scientific researchers keep looking for collaboration to maintain their productivity. However, the increased specialization of individuals working in laboratories goes against the current move toward understanding system in the sciences (Binz-Scharf, Kalish, & Paik, 2015). That leads to quite chaotic, irritating, unpredictable and turbulent situations, especially in workplaces and labs during practices and experiments. In these circumstances, scientific researchers often face the situation when individuals cannot streamline experiments or practice processes, wasting a lot of time to execute the inefficient processes. In that case, helping scientific researchers to solve their problems and enhance their collaboration efficiency becomes a great potential. By utilizing local institutional resources, scientific researchers from different backgrounds could solve problems for each other by applying design methods and open innovation (Aitamurto, Holland, & Hussain, 2015) to help them develop experimental tools and practices. This study researches the logic of design, which is different from the logic of methods scientific researchers use. This study also researches different approaches of design methods to define problems and develop an approach for collaboration of designers and researchers. This approach is a guideline which allows scientific researchers to refine the problems they meet in experiments and help them develop a plan for a collaborative problem-solving process. This tool should be created based on design methods which offer a lot of ways to define problems and develop plans. Design methods also can offer great potential to deal with problems in experimental tools and practices from different areas in academia. In that case, an approach is developed to assist designers collaborating with scientific researchers towards the development of experimental tools and practices.