In my opinion, UI/UX (user interface / user experience) or programming syntax are just like a piece of art. Some people will like your work, some won’t – it depends on a number of factors varying among people. I am doing research in designing UI/UX or programming syntax, and I have a few questions:

  1. Can invention of UI/UX or programming syntax become a publication?
  2. Which way of doing research can make those works look more academic?

Why do I ask these questions?

Because I think that when we talk about good or bad in scientific research, it should be universal, independent of human opinion. That’s why in the second question, I ask for research methods to approach scientific work, instead of creating artwork.

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  • (Yes, I know those are all about software development. But they all address the fundamental question of when a project becomes "research." The specific of research methodology in UI/UX design vs software engineering seem to be out of scope of this site.)
    – ff524
    Oct 27, 2015 at 15:13
  • Hi, everyone thank you for your comments. My main point of this question is how to make a designing work can become a publication. The problem is "good" or "bad" in designing work it depends on individual opinion of people, but on scientific work "good" or "bad" it's independent of human opinion. Then I just ask for the way to do research in designing using scientific approach.
    – fronthem
    Oct 27, 2015 at 15:22
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because questions about the content of your research (as opposed to the process of doing research) and questions that require knowledge of your specific research discipline are out of scope for this site. See academia.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic for what is on-topic here.
    – D.W.
    Oct 28, 2015 at 1:27

2 Answers 2



Researchers in Human-Computer Interaction study the impacts of such things. While a syntax on its own isn't research worthy, it is publishable if you learn something generalizable. For example, some potential research questions might be: can programmers read/comprehend/edit code using your syntax faster or easier than some other syntax?

There have been such papers published at CHI. More recently I have been seeing a lot of papers on how we can annotate existing code with additional information to support programmers.

  • I think the OP is asking whether or not the bare documentation of a new approach to UX can be a publication. Not whether people have done comparative research on UX. Oct 27, 2015 at 20:13
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    @APrioriRainbows The OP is being vague but I definitely interpretted it differently. Especially because of the sentence "to do research in designing UI/UX or programming syntax". Regardless, a new approach to UX is also publishable (it could fit nicely in the "methodology" sessions at CHI)! Oct 27, 2015 at 20:17
  • Touche. I was thrown off by this one: Can invention of UI/UX or programming syntax become a publication? Oct 27, 2015 at 20:21
  • @APrioriRainbows It definitely is odd wording from the OP and I like xLeitix's response about it not being a contribution on its own. I've edited my own answer to be a little more explicit, thanks! Oct 27, 2015 at 20:25

In principle, everything that has a research contribution can become a publication. Especially in computer science, a research contribution is very roughly defined as knowledge that is useful independently of the concrete implementation technology.

That means that "look at my nice draft for an UI / syntax" isn't a research contribution, but showing (e.g., through a user study) that a given design is better than the currently prevalent design in one or more dimensions is. Of course this means that you will need to do more than just propose the new design: firstly you need to be quite intimately aware what the current state of the art is (and the reasoning behind the current design), and secondly you will need to conduct a useful study.

As a sidenote, as soon as you are asking yourself ...

Which way of doing research can make those works look more academics?

.. you are almost certainly doing it wrong. You should not conduct some work and afterwards think about how to make it "seem more academic". You should think from the beginning what the research question of your work is, and if you can't find any, question whether you should be conducting this work in the first place. Any attempt to make work "seem academic" after the fact is typically hard to publish, as reviewers are, at least usually, not stupid and able to look beyond simple deceptions.

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