University of Twente Student Theses


Implications of designer behavior for design synthesis tool interaction design

Leeuwen, M. van (2015) Implications of designer behavior for design synthesis tool interaction design.

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Abstract:Design synthesis tools offer considerable oportunities for improving current design practice. Not only can it automatise design tasks, improving pace and efficiency of the design cycle; it is also a means by which design knowledge can be formalized, making it easier to exchange, discuss, understand, and improve the design knowledge. The current state of research and use of design synthesis tools is limited. Industry does not pay much attention to the developments of these tools, with lack of traction as a result for research in this field. This research asserts that usability concerns of design synthesis tools are an important factor for not adopting them: designers, simply enough, are not able to use the tools. The way designers act and understand in design situations clashes with the way design synthesis tools work. We argue design synthesis tools are very capable of providing explanations and insight into design problems. The research uses a scenario-based development approach to this humancomputer interaction problem. It specifically researches current smart synthesis tools developed at the University of Twente. Usability problems found include: designers finding it hard to interpret synthesis results, designers making unwanted simplifications or adaptations of the design task, designers finding it hard to use a suitable synthesis method for the task at hand, designers resorting to alternative workflows. Identified causes for bad usability include: insufficient functionality in solution viewing, unsufficient expressiveness and organizability of design synthesis methods, inability to formulate the design problem and relate design synthesis methods to it. A proposal is made for the functionality, architecture and use of a design synthesis tool. This proposal shows how the found usability may be improved on. Composing instruments aims to improve how a designer constructs and deploys design synthesis methods, orchestration is a means to relate design synthesis methods to actual design problems, a query interface should allow designers to ask interesting questions about synthesis results. Functionality of the proposal is related to the identified usability problems, and compared to the smart synthesis tools. This suggests that the proposal indeed allows designers to better use design synthesis tools. Further research into the query language, interface to be used by design synthesis methods, graphical user-interface, can lead to an actual implementation of the proposed tool.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:20 art studies
Programme:Industrial Design BSc (56955)
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