Design & Research

Design has recently seen itself added to the list of R&D and innovation areas of activity (CIR -CII) drawn up by the ministry responsible for Research. At the same time, design schools and universities are trying to open specialized graduate schools in this discipline. Attitudes are changing and interest for design research is increasing.

The designer weaves links and revives the art of living.

Doing digital design places people at the heart of technological innovation, respects the environment and encourages a better ability to "work together". The design draws its wealth from its usefulness to society. So, there is no design without "expressiveness", without "searching for harmony", without "the ability to challenge our senses." All these qualities allow one to see an industrial digital object as something for the good of humanity that will allow society to change and improve!

In using design industrial art emerges from standardized technology.

Participants in design and research agree on distinguishing two approaches: the research IN design (a reflexive stance on design - for example, the creative process, epistemology, history, product quality, methodology, reception) and research BY design (the contribution by design to industrial and digital production). Some ask questions about the first: is this an oxymoron? If design is praxis and collaborative does it have the methodological and scientific capability to analyse its own creative practices in order to conduct research on itself? But, in fact, don't these skills come from doctoral degree work, regardless of the discipline?

As a digital design company, we find the second position much more interesting. For over 10 years already we have been doing research BY design. We integrate multidisciplinary teams and we carry out our creative craft with researchers and companies that have a high technological potential. We explore usages together and outline visual forms. We constantly implement micro-tests of acceptation for invented digital objects, without hesitating to consult users in different areas.

But perhaps digital interface design applies to a specific area in which there is a need to break the tether of purely conceptual fixed ideas? It must be admitted that the industry finds it difficult to move away from built-in mental habits, inherited reflexes and official practices by relying solely on the historically existing population of engineers and ergonomists.

As technology becomes fluid and there is a convergence between nanotechnology, tangible interfaces and embedded technologies, it seems that there is less obligation to provide a particular form as design is seamless. The more time passes the more display and animation capabilities become closer to human vision; the smaller the equipment becomes and disappears from view; and the more powerful the batteries are. An area of ​​freedom is emerging and it is possible to invent almost anything at the same time that our digital society tracks, records and follows all micro-actions on our computer. The digital designer, as a specialist user of technology, measures, ensures and develops friendly technology which respects basic freedoms and human rights. It creates a de-alienating technology and projects it into the future with the aim of improving our society!


Design, apart from misunderstandings in translation between the Anglo-Saxon meaning of "conception" and the common meaning that we object to in France where it is reduced to aesthetics, is a difficult profession to define as it covers different areas.

However, one point seems to run through all the various steps ranging from object and service design to digital interface design: this is the link that the designer is able to weave between a material, a situation, a technology and the pleasurable use that a human being will have with it. The creative process of design, regardless of the path it takes, is always looking to identify areas of interface between technological potential, whether simple or complex, and the pleasure of using it.

Schéma - design and technology

Man is culture and our companies have extensive technological cultures: so extensive that they are moving away from human nature. The need arises, therefore, to humanize them, to ease their perception and understanding and make them enjoyable and friendly to relate to. Here lies the designer's role - a sort of mediator between different technologies and objects that can be developed from them. Not only does it endow the objects produced with a certain aesthetic, it gives them a place in our lives. It will bring out a person’s desires, essential to make an object, action or interaction pleasant. For if man loves to surround himself with different technologies that increase his knowledge and ability, he dislikes that which is inappropriate, incomprehensible or meaningless.

Design attempts to forge the link of pleasure, confidence and efficiency between technological objects and its users. It works through creative synthesis to end up with objects that strike a chord with custom and culture.


CARE INO II - 2004-06
Research program funded by EUROCONTROL in partnership with IntuiLab

Subject: How to improve the efficiency and safety of air traffic control user interfaces with animated visual and audio design.

In recent years, the development of tools for air traffic control has been widely regarded as a task for ATC experts, software engineers and human factors specialists. However, times have changed for the computer industry. Today, thousands of designers work on interactive software for cars, aircraft cockpits, office systems or games because they contribute towards making the systems more efficient and easier to use.

2004 EUROCONTROL publication

Digital design, between intimate space and demonstration
Intelligence Collective - Rencontres 2006
Authors: Emmanuelle Jacques, Sandra Solinski, Claire Ollagon, Yves Rinato

Book cover 'Intelligence Collective - Rencontres 2006'

Subject: The collaborative dimension in the design process of socio-technical devices. In this collective communication space, we look at how designers present their ideas: How do they make them communicable? What cognitive tools are brought to use to explain and build the concept? We question here the different areas of interaction where the interfaces are conceived and become part of the interface system between designers and users.

Download the article as a PDF (466 Ko)

Differentiated visual transitions: principles and applications
Actes d’IHM 2006 ACM Press
Authors: Céline Schlienger, Pierre Dragicevic, Claire Ollagnon, Stéphane Chatty

Examples of animated transitions

Subject: To provide support for animation design in graphic interfaces we introduce and define the concept of visual transition. We then use this descriptive model to introduce a new animation technique: differentiated visual transitions, which allow conveying information by exploiting visual transitions.

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