Most research activities at Department of Product Design can be covered by one or more of the following research fields: Interaction Design, Design for Sustainability and Systems and Service Design. Combining insights from various disciplines makes that our research is often explorative. Our key areas are as follows:
Traditionally, Interaction Design has been oriented towards web design, app design and general software development. In recent years industry has become more aware of the value of Interaction Design as an important approach to reduce the risk of human error in complex operations such as in control rooms, on ships’ bridges and in health and welfare systems.
Design for Sustainability
The department has built up considerable research activity in this area, with a focus on design for sustainable behaviour and practices, which has resulted in several successfully finished PhD projects. As of summer 2014, two RCN funded projects on behaviour related to food waste have kicked off in cooperation with SIFO and CERNOVA AS. In the RCN-funded project MINDER two postdocs address the energy efficiency of non-residential buildings, using insights and approaches from design thinking, facilities management, and social theories of practice and design.
Systems and Service Design
The department is in a process of building up experience and a good reputation in the field of Systems and Service Design (currently focusing on Social Design and Innovation in the health and welfare context). The RCN project “The Medical Home” is an important project primarily focusing on home medication systems.
In addition to these three focal research areas, the department is involved with explorative research into design education and applied aesthetics in design:
Design education research
At IPD, a strong tradition exists of reflecting and documenting our educational activities through publications targeted at dedicated conferences and journals. Our dedication to excellent education makes that we have experience with trying out new ways of organizing courses, such as vertical studio teaching or different ways of cooperation with industry, which also provide a welcome topic for reflection, as do our study trips and our research on charting professional perspectives for our alumni. In 2010 IPD won the bid for organising the 12th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education. This conference, one of three NTNU jubilee conferences in 2010, was a big success and the spoken and written feedback received was almost without exception excellent.
Applied aesthetics in design
The department’s role and responsibility is to provide knowledge about what happens when people and technology meet. This implies an exploration of applied aesthetics that requires quite different approaches from those common in traditional (engineering) research - because the discipline is based on the balanced combination of theoretical, logical knowledge with a practical and intuitive exploration of aesthetic expression - which we also find in the fields of music and art. As of 2014, IPD has taken over responsibility for education in aesthetics from the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art. This provides additional motivation for explorative research on applied aesthetics at IPD, using artistic, qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Please visit our staff's individual pages for a description of individual research projects.