Reflections from “the Gap” – Shifting from Practice to Research and the Role of Education in Bridging the Gap

talk – 20 min | Feb 3 – 11:00

The gap between design research and practice is a topic that has been at the center of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community discussions for years. While industry-academy collaborations have been successful in creating spaces for joint activities, such as short-term design-workshops and corporate grants, these initiatives do not seem to have a widespread impact on the transfer of knowledge between both communities at a more granular level.

As UX designers who shifted from practice to the research domain, we found ourselves at the center of this gap. This change meant adapting to new objectives, methods, communities, and information sources. It was surprising to discover this new world after having studied and practiced design for over 10 years. Through these years, we have been in contact with designers from various countries, different backgrounds and types of organizations, but we never came across the work of a large community of design researchers exploring highly relevant topics for our activity.

There are several barriers that prevent design practitioners from making an effective use of this information, ranging from difficulties accessing the resources to the writing style of academic publications. Researchers are working to improve these aspects and some of the most important institutions in the HCI field are taking actions in the same direction. While further work and a joint effort from both communities is needed to close this gap, we believe that design education can play a role in start bringing them closer. During this talk, we will introduce the topic, analyze the current situation and existing initiatives focusing on addressing the issue. We will look at our personal experience shifting from practice to research, and describe the initial steps that we believe design educators could take to help designers leverage the information produced by researchers and bring the two areas closer.

Danilo Gallo

Danilo Gallo
Naver Labs Europe, France

About the speaker

Danilo Gallo

Danilo Gallo

Naver Labs Europe, France
Danilo is a User Experience Designer working for Naver Labs Europe, an industrial research center located in France that has a focus on artificial intelligence. He collaborates with researchers from different areas, such as ethnography, machine learning and computer vision, to explore products and services that leverage the latest digital technologies. Orginally from Argentina, Danilo has a Bachelor degree in Industrial Design from the National University of Mar del Plata. He later moved to Italy for a Master in Interaction Design at Domus Academy. During his career, he has worked as a designer with organisations of different scale, from well established corporates to startups. He has also been involved in academic activities working at higher education institutions in both Argentina and Italy.

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