Human-Centered Design as an Integrating Discipline
Guy André Boy
What is research today? Good research has to be indexed
within appropriate mechanisms to be visible, considered and
finally useful. These mechanisms are based on quantitative
research methods and codes that are often very academic.
Consequently, they impose rigorous constraints on the way
results should be obtained and presented. In addition,
everything people learn in academia needs to be graded. This
leads to standard packaging of what should be learned and
results in making people executants and not creators nor
inventors. In other words, this academic standardization
precludes freedom for innovation. This paper proposes
Human-Centered Design (HCD) as a solution to override these
limitations and roadblocks. HCD involves expertise,
experience, participation, modeling and simulation, complexity
analysis and qualitative research. What is education today?
Education is organized in silos with little attempt to integrate
individual academic disciplines. Large system integration is
almost never learned in engineering schools, and Human-
Systems Integration (HSI) even less. Instead, real-life problemsolving
requires integration skills. What is design research?
We often hear that design has nothing to do with research, and
conversely. Putting design and research together, as
complementary disciplines, contributes to combine creativity,
rigorous demonstration and validation. This is somehow what
HCD is about.