Towards a method for documenting industrial design activity from the designer’s perspective
conference contributionposted on 10.03.2006, 11:05 by Owain F. Pedgley
Design researchers have recorded design activity most often on a microscopic level, enabling some conclusions on the structure of design processes to be reached through analysing trains of thought. An alternative, rarely attempted, is to undertake a macroscopic study of designing on a focused topic. A macroscopic study will aim to reveal designers’ approaches to their work and the kinds of resources they use in relation to that topic. For such a study it is stressed that a designer needs to be involved in a long-term ‘live’ design project. This paper argues that a diary written by the designer, either during or at some point after designing, is valuable to researchers studying designing on a macroscopic level. The two key reasons for using a diary are (a) only designers themselves can describe the thinking that accompanies their designing and (b) accounts can be written chronologically and in direct relation to the development of a particular product. The merits of both concurrent and end-of-the-day diaries are discussed in relation to some initial trials.
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