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A sketching alphabet for paper-based collaborative design

Farrugia, P. and Borg, J. and Yan, X.T. and Camilleri, K. and Green, G. (2006) A sketching alphabet for paper-based collaborative design. Journal of Design Research, 6 (1-2). pp. 260-288. ISSN 1748-3050

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Abstract

Despite the importance of the early design phase, designers still lack computer support in rapidly modelling their form concepts in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems due to the rigid User-Interface. Owing to its efficacy in instantly capturing ideas, traditional pen-and-paper sketching is still very popular amongst designers to record their concepts not only inside but also outside their office. This paper reports the ongoing research aimed at developing a portable, sketch-based tool allowing designers to obtain and share 3D CAD models on cameraphones directly from paper sketches. More specifically, the focus is on a prescribed sketching alphabet required to create a seamless link between sketching and CAD. Results of semi-structured interviews carried out with various design practitioners contribute important insights into the alphabet suitability. Further, the results and an implemented tool indicate that a sketching language based on this alphabet will be beneficial for designers, especially in a collaborative design environment.