Guardians of Practice: A Contextual Inquiry of Failure-Mitigation Strategies within Creative Practices.

DIS'18 Guardians of Practice: A Contextual Inquiry of Failure-Mitigation Strategies within Creative Practices. César Torres, Sarah Sterman, Molly Jane Nicholas, Richard Lin, Eric Pai, Eric Paulos. ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems.
Paper | Design Principles

Abstract

Failure, whether it be “complete-and-utter” or “a minor setback”, occurs in a variety of different creative practices, yet how it is perceived, handled, and recovered from is a lesser explored design space. Failing to address these perceptions of failure can have psychological repercussions, discourage users from continuing a practice, and form cultural stigma such as those associated with STEM fields. However, mediating practices to develop a culture of resiliency and perseverance is key to sustaining a (lifelong) practice and reshaping pedagogical strategies. In this work, we outline the design space of “guardians”, or elements of a creative practice that mitigate the psychological effects of failure. Through a contextual inquiry, we contribute an inventory of failure-mitigation strategies from a variety of creative disciplines. We synthesize guidelines for the design of new guardians and present a preliminary exploration of guardians for the lasercutting practice – effigies and test tags.

My role

This remains one of my favourite papers in my grad school career so far. It’s the one I apply to my own research process the most, and it’s the easiest to talk with people about. This actually came out of a class project for the grad-level intro to HCI research class at UC Berkeley, and was an awesome collaboration with four of my classmates.

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