A switching coding scheme for exploring design cognition in mixed media design environments
Authors: Shih, Yi Teng ; Williams, Tony ; Gu, Ning ; Lee, Ju Hyun
Mixed media design environments comprise conventional and digital tools, the combination of which is often better than individual tools during the conceptual design phase (Ibrahim and Rahimian, 2010). Both pen-paper sketching and CAD (computer-aided design) modelling are the most popular tools for the contemporary design industry and the education behind it (Romer et al., 2001). When designers switch from sketching to CAD modelling, the shift action of re-thinking the early design improves design creativity (Chen, 2007). In studies into mixed media design environments the focus is often on the early design process, the designers being asked to start by sketching then move to CAD modelling: this method of using mixed media containing one shifting action is called sequential mixed media (SMM). However, there is another way of using mixed media, called alternate mixed media (AMM), in which designers alternate frequently between the two. There is an inadequate number of studies into exploring designers’ behaviour in AMM, their shifting actions between tools and the factors triggering the shifting actions. This paper commences with a comprehensive analysis of a wide variety of design tools supporting conceptual design in the early design process; then presents a switching behaviour coding scheme for future study into investigating design cognition between SMM and AMM. The outcome will lead to a more critical understanding of how use of both design tools can be facilitated – more particularly, when and why designers shift from one tool to another tool during the conceptual design phase.