Research with a Hacker Ethos

We don't work in an ivory tower.

And we don't want to! We want to see our work in the world, enjoyed by real people. And why should that be incompatible with original knowledge creation?

Increasingly we can do interaction design research without huge grants or the backing of a large corporation. We're lucky. We don't require linear accelerators or hazardous chemicals (well, not usually) to do our research. We already have everything we need:

  • Free, open-source, and inexpensive software and hardware designed for people who want to get their projects off the ground quickly.
  • Craft and ingenuity in our prototyping methods. Steady hands, good tools, and a penchant for DIY allow us to go a long way for little expense.
  • Growing opportunities to create physical prototypes quickly and cheaply, for those times when we really do need that laser cutter.
  • An explosion in affordable design and prototyping materials.
  • Resourcefulness in evaluation. Looking at both costs and benefits, we use evaluation techniques that have been shown to be effective, in our own and others' published research, without requiring expensive equipment.
  • New opportunities are afforded to the creative evaluator in crowd-sourcing services such as Amazon Mechanical Turk.
  • Anonymous review. Our published work gets judged on its merits, not its institutional affiliation. We target one or two topical, high-impact conferences per year, in addition to relevant research journals.

We keep our operation agile and resourceful.