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Effective visualisation of design versions : visual storytelling for design reuse

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journal contribution
posted on 15.01.2009, 12:39 authored by Peter DemianPeter Demian, Renate Fruchter
Improving and supporting the process of design knowledge reuse can increase productivity, improve the quality of designs and lead to corporate competitive advantage. Whereas internal knowledge reuse (reusing knowledge from one’s personal memory or experiences) is very effective, external knowledge reuse (reusing knowledge from an external digital or paper archive) often fails. This paper studies the value of the storytelling paradigm in supporting reuse from an external repository. Based on a formalisation of the internal reuse process from ethnographic studies, a prototype system, CoMem (Corporate Memory) is presented, which supports the reuse process, specifically the steps of finding and understanding reusable items. This paper focuses on the ability of designers to understand designs that are found in corporate repositories. It is argued that in order to understand and reuse a found design, the designer needs to see the evolution of that design during the original design process. An Evolution History Explorer module of the CoMem system is presented that uses a storytelling metaphor and lays out versions visually side-by-side. A formal user evaluation of CoMem supports the hypotheses that (1) exploring the evolution of a design improves the reuse process, and (2) that visual storytelling is an effective paradigm for supporting that exploration.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


DEMIAN, P. and FRUCHTER, R., 2009. Effective visualisation of design versions : visual storytelling for design reuse. Research in Engineering Design, 19 (4), pp. 193-204


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This article was published in the journal, Research in Engineering Design [© Springer-Verlag] and the original version is available at: