Towards designer-centered design brief formulations in industrial design : relating design brief perception to design expertise and design context

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Towards designer-centered design brief formulations in industrial design : relating design brief perception to design expertise and design context

 

Author: Lau, Wing-chuen
Title: Towards designer-centered design brief formulations in industrial design : relating design brief perception to design expertise and design context
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2010
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Design
Work design
Department: School of Design
Pages: xvii, 250, [94] leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2425031
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6054
Abstract: How to formulate a design brief is the original research question for this study. Three (cognitive, expertise, and contextual) approaches can be summarized from the existing design theories. The cognitive approach originated from the rational problem-solving paradigm focuses on varying a design brief formulation (in terms of its content and presentation) in order to stimulate designers to produce more innovative design concepts. The expertise approach related to the reflection-in-action paradigm emphasizes the dependence on a designer's expertise to actively frame a problematic situation provided by a design brief. The contextual approach investigates professional practice in commercial settings by prescribing guidelines to formulate a design brief in order to facilitate communication among multiple stakeholders in a design project. Adopting a systemic perspective, these approaches can be integrated into a quasi-theory of design brief production. Nonetheless, there is no explicit feedback mechanism to progressively improve these predominately prescriptive approaches of formulating design briefs. In order to close the feedback loop explicitly, card-sorting exercises were used to explore how a design brief is perceived and interpreted by designers with various levels of expertise in the educational and professional context of industrial design. The analysis leads to a tentative framework of design brief reception summarizing how design context, design expertise, and design brief formulations influence designers' initial perceptions of design briefs. The results suggest that the current theory seems to concern only with stimulating cognitive factors of the perceiving designers while the tentative framework of design brief reception suggests that designers' perceptions are very integrated that are affected not only by cognitive factors (individual domain knowledge, skills, and abilities), but also by affective (personal preferences, prior encounters with similar design tasks) and conative (self-confidence) factors as well as the given context. By neglecting the context and these non-cognitive factors, design brief writers are in a position that tends to underutilize many designers' potential. A designer-centered approach of formulating design briefs is proposed based on these findings. The study concludes by juxtaposing these two complementary frameworks as the first step for evolving a more balanced approach to design brief formulations.

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