5.12 Simonsen, J., C. Svabo, S.M. Strandvad, K. Samson, M. Hertzum, and O.E. Hansen (Eds.) (2014): Situated Design Methods, MIT Press, 2014.


Design is situated – and this entails a demand for situated design methods. This book emphasizes the broad scope of situated design by presenting 18 different situated design methods. We include examples from highly diverse areas such as service and experience, culture, communication, information technology, urban design, environmental studies, and technology studies. The chapters in various ways highlight the situatedness of design and unfold methods to facilitate, and conduct situated design processes. The book employs interdisciplinary vocabularies comprising the technical, human, and social sciences, thereby providing a rich and multifaceted understanding of the different ways in which design is much more and much else than the work of traditional craftsmanship-based designers.

In 2010, we published the book Design Research: Synergies from Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Simonsen et al., 2010). The overall intention of this book was to understand the design process better. This was achieved by clarifying features and approaches common to a variety of research disciplines that address design and by undertaking an in-depth exploration of the social processes involved in doing design, as well as analyses of the contexts for the use of designs. Thus, we focused on the non-routine and creative aspects of producing, facilitating, encouraging, advancing, and causing a change process that transforms one situation into another, and furthermore acknowledged that results may emerge which were not foreseen as intended outcomes.

In the present book, we continue our interdisciplinary endeavor by exploring design methods. Design methods are important resources for designers, and reflective analyses of the use of design methods are important to understanding the situated manner in which they facilitate design processes. The process of making the book has been highly participatory with the authors meeting in person and discussing the book at five seminars during 2011–2013. At these seminars, the structure, contents, and common thread of the book were developed and refined, and draft chapters were presented and reviewed.

All chapters in the book are co-authored by scholars from Roskilde University who are engaged in design in their teaching, research, or work as designers. Roskilde University is known as a pioneering university dedicated to interdisciplinary programs based on problem-based project work (Olesen and Jensen, 1999; Mallow, 2001; Olsen and Pedersen 2005; Nielsen and Danielsen, 2012; Andreasen and Nielsen 2013; Andersen and Heilesen, 2014). The university, founded in 1972, has established a tradition of practice-oriented research and of study programs based on interdisciplinary analyses of societal problems. This tradition has recently been manifested in a main subject area of Design, Humanities, and Technology along with the design-oriented strategic research initiative Designing Human Technologies (RU, 2013).

We have been extremely pleased by the constructive comments from MIT Press. We want to thank the reviewers for their work and have done our utmost to live up to their high expectations. We hope that you will read the book with the same enthusiasm as we have experienced in writing it.

Jesper Simonsen
Connie Svabo
Sara Malou Strandvad
Kristine Samson
Morten Hertzum
Ole Erik Hansen