The Hybridlab fosters project-grounded research, which carries a focus on both technological innovation in support of the design process, and fundamental research based in Human-Computer Interaction and in the design process.

Our approach is focused on the integration of new technology and interfaces to correspond to specific needs of design tasks. We work at augmenting traditional conceptual tools (sketch and physical models) with digital capabilities because we believe in bypassing the imitation of the task by proposing appropriate hybrid solution that merges the advantages of both analogue and digital realms. This led us to propose an innovative system to support ideation: the Hybrid Ideation Space (HIS).

Being confronted to the assessment of this new interface, we explored beyond usability in to the wider user experience. For this purpose, we developed the notion of Design Flow, which is a way to observe and measure the experience while designing. We also applied the notion of Flow in ICT (Information and communication technology), in telecom and work environments.

In order to better understand the experience of digital devices and physical products, we also propose the notion of the autotelic dimensions of the user experience.

Design Flow

Ideation is a reflective representational conversation; therefore we regard the relation between the designer and the tool as synergetic. This perspective highlights a gap in the evaluation of design tools. As we looked for an instrument that can provide better insight on how designers ideate and that can address creativity, we came upon Csikszentmihalyi?s concept of flow, which we have expanded into Design Flow. Design Flow is a three-part framework based on the concept of Flow, Schön's notion of talkbacks from the representation, and a workload assessment.


We are working on collaboration during design ideation in different settings: co-located and remote locations, in synchronic (working in same time) or asynchronic (working with two different settings, HIS to work station) or in a distributed collaboration (in a large team, spread across multiple HIS). We are looking at how different tools support collaboration on design ideation (sketch, 3D physical models, CAD tools and the Hybrid Ideation Space).

Design conversations

Design Conversations is a methodological frame- work we developed (Dorta et al. 2011) grounded in Bucciarelli’s ‘design as social process’ (1988), Schön’s ‘reflective conversations’ (1983) and Goldschmidt’s ‘graphical representation of concepts and actions’ (1990). They combine to form different types of Design Conversations: Collaborative Conversations (CC), Collaborative Ideation Loop (CI Loop) and Collaborative Moving (CM), each having recognizable patterns, and appearing to follow a progression that matches the CI process development. They are based on five main elements common in the analysis of the conversation of designers and the design process among those three authors: naming, constraining, negotiating (proposing, explaining, and questioning), decision making and moving, with their relationship with gestures namely pointing and gesturing.