Prototyping across the Disciplines: Designing Better Futures

Jennifer Roberts-Smith (Editor), Stan Ruecker (Editor), Milena Radzikowska (Editor)

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


If people from different fields are going to work together on projects, then they need to begin to understand each other. They can be separated by the words they use, the ways they work and how they think. However, in many fields there is common ground, in the attempts to create what is sometimes called inventive knowledge. These fields progress not only by understanding increasingly more about what already exists, but by making guesses about possible better futures. The guesses consist of small forays into that future, using strategies that are variously called learning through making, research through design or, more simply, prototyping.

While traditionally associated primarily with industrial design, and more recently with software development, prototyping is now used as an important tool in areas ranging from materials engineering to landscape architecture to the digital humanities. This book collects current theories and methods of prototyping in a dozen disciplines, illustrating them through case studies of actual projects, whether in industry or the classroom.

This edited collection aims to provide a context, a theoretical framework and a set of methodologies for interdisciplinary collaboration in design. Each chapter offers a different disciplinary perspective on prototyping, providing a case study as a point of comparison for identifying commonalities and divergences in current practices. Contributions are from a group of scholars with worldwide experience of working and presenting in design, and who are currently based in Canada, the United States, Chile and Brazil.

This book isn’t just about design across the disciplines, it is about how prototyping works in different disciplines. Prototyping is a crucial part of the design process, and a practice used by creators from all design disciplines, from architects and engineers, to industrial and service designers, to test a concept or process and evaluate an idea.

Much research has been published on prototyping in design; what makes this new book unique is the cross disciplinary nature, showing designers how they can learn from various approaches to improve their skills. Disciplines discussed include post-human design, theatre, tabletop game design, landscape architecture and arts entrepreneurship.

Primarily of interest to design scholars and practitioners with an interest in integrative design. Undergraduates and graduate students in design, HCI (human-computer interaction) and the digital humanities. Textbook potential.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIntellect Ltd.
Number of pages292
ISBN (Print)9781789381801
StatePublished - Nov 9 2021


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