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, Michael Shorter, Michelle Thorne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
120 Downloads (Pure)


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 finished product in their own right. 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 publicationDesigning Interactive Systems Conference 2021 (DIS ’21), June 28–July 2, 2021
Subtitle of host publication“Nowhere and Everywhere”
EditorsWendy Ju, Lora Oehlberg, Sean Follmer, Sarah Fox, Stacey Kuznetsov
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384766
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2021
EventACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2021) conference: “Nowhere and Everywhere” -
Duration: 28 Jun 20212 Jul 2021


ConferenceACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2021) conference
Abbreviated titleDIS2021
Internet address


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