CAD as a ‘recording’ or ‘designing’ tool: evidence from user behaviours

Previously published research has explored the implications of using CAD for the quality of design development, and the quality of design outcomes (Fraser & Hodgson, 2007; Hodgson & Fraser, 2006; Hodgson & Fraser, 2005; Kimbell et al, 2002). Prior study has also revealed, that users’ perceptions affect how CAD is applied, and reflect the benefits received from such use (Robertson & Allen, 1991). In order to link creativity to the use of CAD, a literature review concerning behaviours associated with creativity was conducted. This was discussed in a PowerPoint presentation presented at the 2007 Design and Technology Association International Research Conference. A framework of seven groups of creative behaviour were identified, particularly ‘Novelty’, ‘Appropriateness’, ‘Motivation’, ‘Fluency’, ‘Flexibility’, ’Sensitivity’, and ‘Insightfulness’. Evidence for these behaviours when using CAD was sought by a number of research methods such as interviews, protocol analysis, observations, and design diaries. This paper is reporting part of an initial study undertaken to research the implications of using CAD for creativity in designing. A smallscale case study exploration based on the masters projects by four postgraduate students from the Design and Technology Department at Loughborough University has been carried out. The results from the current research showed that the use of CAD in designing was linked to design behaviours associated with creativity in the literature.