Designing Digital Environments - Autumn 2010 - Høgskolen i Østfold
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Preparation: Readings, reading, analysis, documentation, bibliographies, writing, coding, tools and resources.

Introduction: Week 35 Course introduction.


Designing and Making Week 36

Of the many definitions of design, a particulary enticing one is the concept that design is where theory and practice meet.

  • The nature of design
  • Form
  • Cognition
  • Design ability
  • Representation of complexity
  • Ways of designing
  • The way things change
  • Everything is connected

Representing complexity: Map of land parcels in Beirut.1


A design project: Part I Structuring data.


A digital environment: RDIF label

Digital environments Week 37

A short introduction to digital environments, discussion of their nature and history.

  • Container and contents
  • Resources and assembly
  • Tresholds and scale

Design History Week 38

A general introduction to the history of design as it relates to designing, objects, systems and organization, communication and interaction.

  • Design history
  • Design without designers
  • Global design
  • Separation of production

Design history: Eames wire chair2


Ways of seeing3

Design theory Week 39

Design theory has its roots in the thoughts of Aristotle on the nature of inquiry and rhetoric which was later refined and developed in the Renaissance. New thinking on the peculiar nature of design as "forethought" is based on contemporary ideas of inquiry, exploration and the indeterminacy of design as invention as opposed to discovery.

  • Indeterminacy of subject matter
  • Understanding design
  • Rhetoric, inquiry, exploration and
  • Forethought
  • Space and place
  • Thresholds in resolution
  • Aesthetics

A design project: Part II Functionality.


Design Activity Week 40

It is the activity of design, the foregoing inquiry, the application of inventiveness and analysis to physical objects - often quite complex amalgamations of objects, to organizations and to systems that in themselves can very well be inanimate to the point where they can be argued to be abstract, that places it at the intersection of theory and practice.

  • Who designs
  • The design process
  • Design methods
  • The User
  • Sketching
  • Systems that grow
  • Handling complexity
  • Creating environmnets

A sketch of this page.


Design process diagram generated using dot.

Design methods Week 41 - 42

A closer examination (and application) of design methods. While methods were developed enthusiastically in the 1960's and 70's, they have later been subjected to criticism, especially by the founders of the movement. What was probably most neglected by the proponents of design methods was inherent design ability, which has later come to be understood as a necessary but not indispensable part of successful design.

Value and Responsibility Week 43

Why is it expected that designers have some measure of social responsibility that is not required of the consumer? "To do science is to be political if only because it is a political decision to spend some amount of limited human energy and social resources on a particular question. Most scientists are, at a minimum, liberals, although it is by no means obvious why this should be so."4

  • Ethics
  • Production
  • Environmentalism
  • Consumerism
  • Sustainability
  • The politics of design

Epistemology and Learning Week 44

The design of digital environments include studies and the creative organization of resources from technologies and the humanities for learning and conveying knowledge by machines and humans.


Digital environments Week 45-46

Digital environments are real or near real-time interactive communication systems based on digital signal processing, where the communications involved can be between humans, machines, and humans and machines.

  • Their development and emergence
  • Elements of digital environments
  • Shaping digital environments
  • Forethought, activity, making
  • Responsibility and value
  • Organizations and systems of knowledge
  • Tools

July War, 2006


A design project: Part III Interfaces.


Al Mashriq

Cases Week 47

Exploration and criticism of projects and examples.


Cases Week 48

Exploration and criticism of projects and examples.

Digital Documentation Center, American University of Beirut

Cases Week 49

Exploration and criticism of projects and examples.



Evaluation of portfolio (Hand in date: Monday 6/12)

The portfolio to be delivered on the department's archive server;

Instructions may be had from Ted Sørlie <>.

Course evaluation 2010



  1. Jamal Abed, AUB. Maps of Beirut.
  2. The Work of Charles and Ray Eames, Library of Congress. The Eames Office Resources
  3. Abraham Bosse (1602-1676) Plate 2 from Manière universelle ... pour pratiquer la perspective, 1647.
  4. Richard Lewontin. Dishonesty in Science. The New York Review of Books, LI(18):38-40, November 2004.

Last modified: Fri Jul 15 20:19:07 2011

Børre Ludvigsen