My research projects mainly grew out of my PhD work at Carnegie Mellon. There I was investigating interactive products and services that support people during the turmoil of transitions. My experience design framework can guide the process, with a theoretical lens to understand the transitional situations. It offers designers new ways of thinking and practicing in their process, to enhance the emotional and social qualities of people’s relationships and experiences with interactivity.

Key Findings of My Research about Design Methods & Good UX

1. Design is a dialogue in making, where designer proposes ways of living for people to take on and respond.

2. The designer must inquire into ‘character’ in any given problematic situation. Character emerges once a user’s actions are defined by her practical, ethical, and intellectual virtues, and vice versa.

3. Harmony is the driving principle of all design. Design must harmonize the new – the changing — with the old – the unchanging—through artful ways.

4. Products are transitive in nature; they help the individual to connect and relate herself to her roles and environments.

5. Products are resources of actions for people to compose experiences.

6. The designer creates frames for experiences, by defining focal points, affordances, and constraints.

7. An experience is a layered plot, interwoven with simultaneous role enactments and permeable environments. Experience is thus composed of sub-plots, from routine and performances, to narratives and rituals.

9. People can navigate an experience through dynamic agency, with character. They can change their modes based on their priorities, and build up their agency in the situation through dialogue between the self, the product, and the environment.

10. Products make people strategically aware of the complexity of experiences. Through interactive and service products, a person can assess, judge, make moves, and resolve the problematic situation.

11. Products are more than embodiments. they contain symbolic power that can help the self to transcend situations with ritual moments. Products are affordances for meaning making.

Foundations of My Research

My research work is inspired by the somehow obvious (and perhaps optimistic) observation that people possess an astounding capability to adapt themselves to new situations and challenging environments. At the core of this capability lies people’s ability to form relationships with their own selves, with other people and with their surrounding environments. Products can facilitate these relationships, giving them form and direction, whether they be tangible products or intangible services.

Research Map

My work explores how design can support people in forming these relationships.

I have followed a three-part design inquiry: I develop an in-depth understanding of people’s problematic situations, I take action on their issues, and I search for artful ways to act on these issues. The understanding path has led me to study the theories of humanities and social sciences, the action path led me to practice design and make products, and the artful ways path led me to study design process. In a way, my work is a meaningful composition of these three paths, theory, practice and process. My inquiry follows the promise of Donald Schön’s ‘reflection in and on action’*, where theory and practice cultivate each other to transform a problematic situation into its preferred state***.

In identifying the problematic situation and working toward the preferred state, my design inquiry follows the five stages defined by John Dewey in The Patterns of Inquiry**: indeterminate situation, problem, hypothesis, development, and significance.

* Reflective Practitioner, by Donald Schön
** Logic, Theory of Inquiry, by John Dewey
*** Sciences of the Artificial, by Herbert Simon


Eiji Hayashi, Bryan Pendleton, Fatih Ozenc, and Jason Hong. 2012. WebTicket: account management using printable tokens. In Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’12). Austin, Texas, US.

Fatih Kursat Ozenc, Lorrie F. Cranor, Jim Morris, (2011) Adapt A Ride: Understanding the Dynamics of Commuting Preferences through An Experience Design Framework, DPPI 2011, Milano Italy.

Fatih Kursat Ozenc, Shelly Farhnam, (2011) Life Modes in Social Media, CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, [pdf] Vancouver, Canada.

Fatih Kursat Ozenc (2010) , Transitions Heuristics in the Pursuit of Well-being: Situating Interactive Products and Services in Transitions, Design Research Society (DRS) International Conference, Design & Complexity, Montreal, Canada.

Fatih Kursat Ozenc, Miso Kim, John Zimmerman, Stephen Oney (2010), How to support Designers in Getting hold of the Immaterial Material of Software, 28th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). [pdf]

Fatih Kursat Ozenc (2009), Transitions Research for Experience Design: Designing Interactive Products and services for Role and Environmental Transitions, International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR), Seoul, Korea. [pdf]

Fatih Kursat Ozenc, John Zimmerman (2009), Reverse Alarm Clock: An interactive system, 5th International Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC), Chicago, IL. [pdf]

John Zimmerman, Kursat Ozenc, Bong-keum Jeong (2009), New Methods for the Design of Products that Support Social Role Transitions, Artifact, 2(3&4). Taylor and Francis: 190-206. [pdf]

Stuart Taylor, Shahram Izadi, Kursat Ozenc, Richard Harper (2007), Videoplay: Playful and Social editing of Video using Tangible Objects and Multi-touch Interaction, 2nd IEEE International Workshop on Horizontal Interactive Human-Computer Systems (TABLETOP), Newport, RI. [pdf]

Kursat Ozenc, Bong-keum Jeong, James P. Brommer, Nina Shih, Karen Au, John Zimmerman (2007), Reverse Alarm Clock: A research through design example of Designing for the Self, Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces Conference (DPPI), Helsinki, Finland. [pdf]

John Zimmerman, Kess Overbeeke, Jodi Forlizzi, Philip Ross, Kursat Ozenc (2006), Nurturing the Wakeup Routine, UbiComp Workshop on Nurturing Technologies in the Home, Newport, RI.

John Zimmerman, Kursat Ozenc (2005), Exploring Social Relations Between Smart Homes and Their Occupants, 23th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI): Technology, safety, community, Portland, OR. [pdf]

Kursat Ozenc (2004), Dynamics of Pleasure in Interface Design, 4th International Conference on Design & Emotion, Ankara, Turkiye. [pdf]

Kursat Ozenc (2004), Intertwining Nature of Virtual Reality, M.F.A. Thesis Paper, Sabanci University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Istanbul, Turkiye.