Bridging The Gap


Capstone Sponsor: Frog

Improving knowledge sharing between UX Designers and HCI academics

Role: Visual Designer | Interaction Designer | Researcher



A 10-week progress study outlining the research methods, insights, synthetic artifacts, and design opportunities.


6 months (in progress)



User Research Plan, User Interviews, Competitive Analysis, Empathy Maps, Insight Generation, Research Readout, Research Report, Product Specification, Usability testing


Eclair Junchaya, Hy Nguyen


What is the gap?

The Gap is the space that exists between academic research and industry implementation. Conversations in tech industry and HCI academia are happening in parallel on important topics like accessibility, cultural diversity and gender inclusivity, but there’s not a lot of discourse happening between the two. 

This academic-industry gap prevents the larger HCI community to share knowledge and solve problems. 



The opportunity

Not much work is being explored in the field of research translation for tech”
– Andy Ko, Program Chair of Informatics

If both industry and academia were better able to translate and communicate their knowledge to one another, they would be able to combine their expertise incorporate topics such as....

Gender bias in software and Value Sensitive Design

into UX practice.


The goal is to improve knowledge sharing between UX Designers and HCI academics


Talking to HCI Experts in Academia

We talked to four leading experts in academia exploring the gap between HCI industry and academia to get a better understanding of new methods that are being done to tackle this gap and what their experiences have been translating their work to industry. 


/ Andrew J. Ko, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Program Chair, Informatics The Information School Computer Science & Engr. (adjunct) University of Washington


/ Daniella Kim, Ph.D.

Lecturer, Human Centered Design & Engineering  Computer Science & Engr. University of Washington


/ Erik Stolterman, Ph.D.

Senior Executive Associate Dean Professor of Human Computer Interaction, School of Informatics Indiana  University


/ Gary Hsieh, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in Human Centered Design & Engineering Department of Computer Science & Engr. (adjunct) University of Washington


We need to offer the right sort of value proposition to get the the right message ready. But that’s also not the only way. I think it’s a two sided issue. There’s stuff that academic researchers can do and there’s stuff that practitioners can do”
– Gary Hsieh, Associate Professor

Given that mutual efforts are needed from both sides, we conducted primary research with UX practitioners to learn more about current practices and attitudes towards academia.


Primary Research

While doing our user research, we framed our initial questions to understand our users and their needs.

  • What aspects of academic research papers do design practitioners view as most important in their design process or decisions?
  • What are the current frustrations in the process of communication between practitioners and academics?

For more details view User Study Plan


Talking to UX Industry and Users

We conducted 60-minute sessions with practitioners in the industry, ranging from UX Designers to Research Designers with 3-25 years of work experience. We chose three methods that we thought would help show existing attitudes towards academia, and how academic sources may currently be used in existing research and design processes.  


Sense Making

To depict the knowledge sharing and discovery process that we discovered from our interviews with practitioners and academic researchers, we created empathy maps and journey maps.


Main Insights



The abundance of sources prevents designers from finding, using and implementing academic HCI research

You can find a million sources, but do you have time to read?
— Participant 8


Industry and academic communities are sources of information that accelerate knowledge discovery and sharing

...we talk through challenges we may be having in research.
— Participant 2


Exposure to ethnographic research prompts a deeper understanding and appreciation of the academic research process

You can’t communicate empathy...unless they see it...
— Participant 7


There’s an appetite from both industry and academia to bridge the gap

I don’t typically read academic papers but this conversation is making me remember the benefits of it ...
— Participant 3


Existing common ground sources serve as a starting point for shared vocabulary

Read all those [Edward Tufte] classics... it was such a revelation when those books came out.
— Participant 9


Mentors curate knowledge for mentees to advance their professional careers and expertise

..A lot of them were saying that I should look into scholarly papers or things that were more theoretical
— Participant 1


From the insights we got from our secondary and primary research, we were able to crafted some design principles that will help guide us moving forward. 



Provide guidance and assurance in their search for new knowledges


Facilitate knowledge discovery and sharing through engagement


Ease insight extraction process to reduce information overload


For more details

View Research Report


That is it for now, thank you for reading!

Please check back later for an update on where we are in the design process :)