Research projects in Dr. MacDonald’s IRIS Design lab have three foci: (1) Modeling the role of the public’s decisions in effective large-scale sustainability implementation; (2) Improving engineering designers’ abilities to address complex customer preference for sustainability; and (3) Using data on how consumers perceive products, especially visually, to understand how products are evaluated and subsequently improve those evaluations. These foci represent three corresponding design vantage points: (1) system-level; (2) human-scale or product-level, and (3) single-decision-level. The exploration of these different vantage points is fundamental to performing insightful design research on complex design issues, such as sustainability.

Alongside our research, our lab has a shared desire to communicate our findings in approachable formats. Due to the nature of the work, many of our findings are relevant to various stakeholders from designers of autonomous products to energy grid managers. Through a small research project, we uncovered a new format of entry point into our research before the more in-depth published papers. Below, you will find a small collection of our recent papers shown through single-page metaphors and corresponding visuals. These are simplified abstractions of our papers that hope to inspire you to read more.

Swipe through 4 research papers below represented through metaphor. Click to read full paper

All research citations can be found here.