Design, Empathy, Interpretation

Towards Interpretive Design Research
MIT Press, 2023

Design, Empathy, Interpretation  makes the case for an interpretive perspective in design research. It analyzes how one interpretive framework has created the core of a significant over 20-year old design research program in Helsinki. In shops in September 12, 2023. Open Access, also

Drifting by Intention

Springer, 2020.

This book is a study of drifting, or how a design process takes a designer intentionally beyond the brief. With my Danish co-author, we thought drifting is driven by our concept of knowledge. The book outlines this relationship.

Design Research Through Practice: From Lab, Field, and Showroom

Morgan Kaufmann, 2011

This is a methodological study of how design can work as a research tool. After it came out, it has been shaping design education at PhD level globally and has influenced masters education as well.

DIS 2018 abstract book

Christine Tsin did the graphic design

In Hong Kong, I organized Designing Interactive Systems  2018 conference. This is the abstract book that was printed and shared on-site. Thanks especially to Christine Tsin, our graphic designer. The Proceeedings and Companion Volume are at and See also its twitter at It was a useful feed.

Mobile Multimedia in Action

Transaction 2007

This book wrapped up my studies on mobile multimedia. It is an ethnomethodological explication of how people communicate with camera phones. It is a sort of underground classic.

Empathic Design

IT Press, Helsinki, 2003

Edited with Katja Battarbee and Tuuli Mattelmaki, this is a small well-known book which wrapped up a research project called eDesign. It describes some of the methods used in that project, and despite its obscure publisher, has gained a solid status in design research. After years, it is still pretty fresh.

The publisher was sold to another company, which closed the series around 2007. The three of us got the rights to the book back. You can still get hard copies from the publisher, I think: they discovered a few copies from their storehouse. The name of the publisher is another matter. IT Press was sold to someone else around 2007-8, and I have no memory of the new publisher’s name.

Mobile Image

IT Press, Helsinki, 2002

According to Sarvas and Frohlich, this is the first study ever published about how people use mobile multimedia. It was translated from the Finnish version called Mobiili Kuva (2001). It rapidly gained a pretty good international reputation in mobile phone studies despite of its obscure publisher. The publisher was chosen because we wanted to get another grant from the Ministry that had funded this study (but failed). Hence, no MIT or some other fancy publisher, though the quality is very good and the book is still fresh; I gave several keynotes based on this book.

Like Empathic Design, the publisher was sold to another company, which closed the series around 2007. The book is sold out, but I got the rights to the book back. Sorry for the quality of the scan; the original PageMaker files are lost forever.

Laadulliset menetelmat kauppatieteissa

(Qualitative Research Methods in Business Studies)
Vastapaino, 2005

This is written in Finnish, but a translation is underway hopefully in 2017. The book takes a sociological look into qualitative research methods in business studies. My co-authors were a business professor, and one of the best sociologists in Europe. Although written as a method text, it makes several contributions in particular in its novel interpretation of business through sociology, and in its treatment of inference in Chapters 10-11, and its treatment of ethics and confidentiality in Chapter 12. The book has withstand time really well, and through written for a small language, has received close to 1,000 citations.

User Experience Plus

Proceedings of DPPI 2007
UIAH, Helsinki and ACM, New York, 2007

For the DPPI 2007 conference, which I chaired, I edited this book with some of my co-organizers. A sign of its times; the conference mapped what had happened to the notion of user experience, and how people had surpassed it. The papers are these days available at ACM Library. (Link to

The Metamorphosis of Home

Tampere University Press, 2005

This was one of the funniest research projects of my life. With two colleagues, I got a funding to study “proactive information technology” at home. This notion of David Tannenbaum’s, we thought, was hilarious, and at odds with what the home is about, so we took a critical, constructivist stand on this notion, built various proactive devices, and put them to use in several homes in Helsinki and Tampere, Finland’s second city. The later phases of the study are reported better in a few articles (see “Papers” on this site), but this gives a fresh perspective on the first year of the study.

Industrial Design as a Culturally Reflective Activity in Manufacturing

UIAH and Sitra, Helsinki, 2001

This was a study commissioned by the National Foundation for Development. A strange project done in the middle of a right-wing political influence trying to prove that business is good for the country, I decided to have fun, and wrote a book that painted a picture of industrial design as a cultural activity that is largely indifferent to business needs, its rhetoric aside (have you ever seen a designer who is a good businessman?). This struck some kinds of chords; I remember talking about the book with the president of SAIC, and the head of design at CMU… It is sold out, but I think the book is in public domain.

Kayttajakeskeinen Tuotesuunnittelu

UIAH, Helsinki, 2003

This book is in Finnish and described user-centered methods for designers. It was edited from three MA theses I supervised or assessed. It was used as a textbook. You might get it from Aalto University’s bookshop, but I think it is sold out.

My PhD Thesis


One of those things you do and never touch afterwards. A good piece of research, but a very strange book. Well, it is not a book: it is a thesis.

Varitetty Totuus

Helsinki University Press, Helsinki, 2000

My plan years ago was to write a PhD about gossip, but ended up in conversation analysis. This book is an extension of the literature review I did for the PhD while in Indiana University. Think it sold about 2000 copies, which is pretty good given that the book is semi-academic and written in Finnish. It led to strange media coverage that went far beyond the borders of Finland. Because to this experience, I avoid media these days. It is sold out.

Ludinno – Learning labs for user-driven innovation

Articles "Do Tank Helsinki" and "Reflections and Design Policy"
Norden - Nordic Innovation Center, Oslo 2010
Translated in Polish in 2011-2012

This was a strange, but fun project I did with several Nordic colleagues. Tomas Edman from Karlstad was the engine behind the project (thanks Tomas: you’re one of the few Swedes who consistently speaks Swedish with me). We created a series of “learning-labs” in four countries, and reported those in the book. My learning-lab was a class Interactive Prototyping 2008, or IP08 for short. It must have been my favourite class of all time… we bought a car for the class and started to hack it. This class has been reported in several conference papers over the years. You can get the book from Nordic Innovation Center.



This was a conference I chaired a few years ago, and for that reason, didn’t have papers there. You can download papers from this link:

Innovaatioiden Kotiutuminen

Kuluttajatutkimuskeskus, 2006

Another strange publication I edited tongue-in-cheek with two colleagues. It collects papers about how “innovations are domesticated.” My contribution was a humorous piece about the hidden sociology of Nokia Communicator 9110. It looks like the book is either sold out or not available anymore, except through libraries.