Prototyping things: reflecting on unreported objects of design research for IoT

Nick Taylor, Jon Rogers, Loraine Clarke, Martin Skelly, Jayne Wallace, Pete Thomas, Babitha George, Romit Raj, Mike Shorter, Michelle Thorne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Prototypes and other ‘things’ have had many uses in HCI research—to help understand a problem, as a stepping stone towards a solution, or as a final outcome of a research process. However, within the messy context of a research through design project, many of these roles do not form part of the final research narratives, restricting the ability of other researchers to learn from this practice. In this paper we revisit prototypes used in three different design research projects, conducted over a period when the Internet of Things emerged into everyday life, exploring complex hidden relationships between the internet, people and physical objects. We aim to explore the unreported roles that prototypes played in these projects, including brokering relationships with participants and deconstructing opaque technologies. We reflect on how these roles align with existing understandings of prototypes in HCI, with particular attention to how these roles can contribute to design around IoT.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS '21
Subtitle of host publicationDesigning Interactive Systems Conference 2021
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2021


  • Things
  • Prototypes
  • Design
  • Internet of Things
  • Research through design
  • Research objects


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