Review of Research: Critical Interface Analysis as a Heuristic for Justice-Focused, Community-Engaged Design Research

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: In this review of research, I examine Brock’s (2018) critical technocultural discourse analysis approach and Sano-Franchini’s (2018) critical interface analysis approach as two methods for critical interface analysis that are useful not only for critique but also for community-engaged design work. Specifically, critical interface analysis can offer a more expansive approach to heuristic evaluation that offers design researchers strategies for a) engaging community members in critical conversations and b) including communities and stakeholders in the design research process in the spirit of justice-focused co-design. Method: I place critical interface analysis in conversation with heuristic evaluation, highlighting similarities, differences, and possibilities for rethinking and expanding each through the connection. Results: I describe how critical interface analysis heuristics from Brock (2018) and Sano-Franchini (2018) can be applied to support layered community engagement throughout design research processes: specifically, in (1) language setting, (2) research plans, (3) participatory analysis, and (4) research evaluation. Conclusion: The approaches to critical interface analysis discussed here afford people in traditionally privileged design research roles (in academic, industry, and public sector institutions) a way to honor the experiences and expertise of community members by not only reflecting on the ways they contribute to and are impacted by designs, but also collaborating with them on critical interface analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalTechnical Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Community Engaged Design
  • Critical Interface Analysis
  • Design Research
  • Social Justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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