Ergodesign: harmonising art and science methods and tools in evidence-based Human Centred System Research, Design and development
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This paper argues that current methods and tools for product, service and system design are becoming increasingly ineffective for solving complex design problems or for justifying opportunities in human-centred design. Advanced technologies are changing the landscape of design. Because design has developed as a practice-based profession, aimed at industrial processes and mass production, since its inception from the Bauhaus in 1938, the discipline is trailing behind other disciplines such as the natural and applied sciences. The Kyoto Design Declaration (2008) has proclaimed that a paradigm shift from technology driven development to human centred development is in progress towards seeking better methods to design new values, new ways of thinking and adaptation to change. Design, as a subject for creating materialistic values, has no robust methods or tools for developing a grounded theory to build a body of new knowledge. The development of science and technology is advancing at an alarming rate. Design methodologies, methods and tools have not shifted forward to address these changes. A broad notion of the meaning of theory, philosophy, discipline, method and tool, and their plurality and connectivity is discussed to alert ergonomists and designers to the complexity of connectivity of research methodologies. Ergodesign – a hybrid of ergonomics and design – is discussed in this paper as a mixed research-design paradigm for addressing the growing disciplinary complexity in which design has to mediate to enable innovation to take place in the future. The sense and sensibility of Ergodesign, as a hybrid research method and design approach, is argued, along with an intensive-care patient monitoring research project to demonstrate its potency. The case study will highlight the symbiotic capability of Ergodesign as a knowledge-generating research tool, and as a constructive design method for information synthesis, the product design and development process, and the systems evaluation approach in evidence-based research and evidence-based design.