Abstract of the TOCHI 2012 paper that was invited to be presented at CHI 2013:
Design-oriented research practices create opportunities for constructing knowledge that is more abstracted than particular instances, without aspiring to be at the scope of generalized theories. We propose an intermediate design knowledge form that we name strong concepts that has the following properties: is generative and carries a core design idea, cutting across particular use situations and even application domains; concerned with interactive behavior, not static appearance; is a design element and a part of an artifact and, at the same time, speaks of a use practice and behavior over time; and finally, resides on an abstraction level above particular instances. We present two strong concepts—social navigation and seamfulness—and discuss how they fulfil criteria we might have on knowledge, such as being contestable, defensible, and substantive. Our aim is to foster an academic culture of discursive knowledge construction of intermediate-level knowledge and of how it can be produced and assessed in design-oriented HCI research.
Höök, K., Löwgren, J. (2012). Strong concepts: Intermediate-level knowledge in interaction design research. ACM Trans. Computer-Human Interaction, 19(3):#23.