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Influences of design tools on the original and redesign processes

Annamalai Vasantha, Gokula Vijayumar and Chakrabarti, Amaresh and Rout, Bijay Kumar and Corney, Jonathan (2013) Influences of design tools on the original and redesign processes. International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation. ISSN 2165-0349

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Concept generation plays a vital role in establishing a broader foundation in the design process to create novel products. In the globalized, collaborative, designing scenario, an unambiguous representation of captured ideas to explicate a designer’s thoughts is important in the sharing and reuse of concepts. Various design studies have noted the impact of design tools on concept generation. However, the results did not detail the influences of a variety of tools on the representation and reinterpretation of concepts through captured design documents. The goal of this paper was to understand the influence of conceptual design tools: Hi-Tech Mobile e-Notes Taker, Wacom Tablet, and Rhinoceros CAD with MS Word/PowerPoint on concept representation and reinterpretation, during the original and redesign phases. Eighteen design experiments, involving six individual student designers’ solving three design problems each, were conducted in the original and redesign phases. The analyses of 26 variables from captured documents and video protocols reveal that the design tools had a statistically significant impact on four key variables: the total time taken to solve each problem, the time spent on detailed design activity, the textual representation of structural requirements, and the graphical representation of the structure of detailed concepts. Irrespective of the design tool used, novice designers generated a low number of redesign concepts. This makes us conclude that designers might require training for reinterpretation and extracting necessary information from the concepts originally captured, rather than working with poor understanding, ambiguity, and assumptions about the original designer’s intent.