Decisive Constraints as a Creative Resource in Interaction Design

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This article explores the observation that highly limiting, creative decisions of voluntary self-binding that radically prune the design solution space may in fact fuel and accelerate the process toward an innovative final design. To gain insight into this phenomenon, we propose the concept ‘decisive constraints’ based on a review of current, but dispersed, studies into creativity constraints. We build decisive constraints on two definitional conditions related to radical decision-making and creative turning points. To test our concept analytically and ensure its relevance to creative practice, we apply the two definitional conditions to three media façade installation projects in which our interaction design research lab has been involved. In accord with insights from these case analyses, we argue that decisive constraints may inform current research into design processes and act as a creative resource for practitioners, not only in interaction design but, we assume, also across related creative domains and disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Creativity
Pages (from-to)27-61
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • interaction design
  • creativity
  • constraints
  • decisive
  • media façades


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