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From Research Prototype to Research Product

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Author: William Odom
Author: Wakkary, Ron
Prototypes and prototyping have had a long and important history in the HCI community and have played a highly significant role in creating technology that is easier and more fulfilling to use. Yet, as focus in HCI is expanding to investigate complex matters of human relationships with technology over time in the intimate and contested contexts of everyday life, the notion of a ‘prototype’ may not be fully sufficient to support these kinds of inquiries. We propose the research product as an extension and evolution of the research prototype to support generative inquiries in this emerging research area. We articulate four interrelated qualities of research products—inquiry-driven, finish, fit, and independent—and draw on these qualities to describe and analyze five different yet related design research cases we have collectively conducted over the past six years. We conclude with a discussion of challenges and opportunities for crafting research products and the implications they suggest for future design-oriented HCI research.
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William Odom, Ron Wakkary, Youn-kyung Lim, Audrey Desjardins, Bart Hengeveld, and Richard Banks. 2016. From Research Prototype to Research Product. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2549-2561. DOI=
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Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
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From Research Prototype to Research Product
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