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Designer\'s Behavioural Flow in Ideation Process.pdf

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  • 1. DESIGNER’S BEHAVIOURAL FLOW IN IDEATION PROCESS PEI-JUNG CHENG, JEN YEN AND MANLAI YOU Graduate School of Design National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan Abstract. The study chiefly explored the behavioural flow and the linkage relationship between the searched content and the transformed ideas in the designer’s ideation process through the methods of in-situ observation of two practicing graphic designers. This paper proposes a model for illustrating the designer’s behavioural flow in the ideation process. The study should be regarded as a pilot study for proposing an analytic method to the related research in the design field and other possible methods should be utilized to further study the ideation process in the future for interpreting the deep linkage between the content searched for and the ideas generated. 1. Designer’s Behaviour in Ideation Process Designing is regarded as a search process (Simon 1969) in which a designer has to find an optimum solution to meet the initial design problem. Generating and developing ideas to find possible solutions has become an essential part of the design process for designers. Therefore, a key issue in the design-relative research is realizing how a designer faces the design problem and generates the appropriate approaches to solve the problem in the ideation process, especially focusing on the transforming procedure and condition of the ideas. For this reason, many researchers have studied how designers utilize their own sketches and how such sketches help them think up ideas and concepts (Goldschmidt 1991; Schön and Wiggins 1992; Suwa and Tversky 1997; 2001) thus, researchers explore their behaviours and thinking procedures in the ideation period to catch the designers’ thinking path through analyzing the designers’ external representations. Moreover, a designer’s ideation activity is described as the well known interactive structure of “seeing-moving-seeing” (Schön and Wiggins 1992) that is driven by the designer’s “reflection”. The seeing action includes both the designer’s active searching intention and the content they are seeing. In terms of the content, visual stimuli may become the trigger that draws out the designer’s reflection which then influences the designers’ actions within
  • 2. 2 P. J. CHENG, J. YEN AND M. YOU the ideation process. Therefore, many researchers believe that more visual clues trigger designers’ mental images in their ideation process (Schön and Wiggins 1992; Herbert 1993; Goldschmidt 1994; McGown et al. 1998; Verstijnen et al. 1998; Suwa et al. 2000; Dorst and Cross 2001; Petre and Sharp 2006). On the other hand, Gero and Kannengiesser (2004) utilized the interactive relationship among the three worlds, “external world”, “interpreted world” and “expected world”, to illustrate the situated designing (Figure 1) that may interpret the intention of designer’s active searching- retrieving (S-R) behaviour. That is, the designer’s S-R behaviour could be regarded as the external presentation of his/her expected world, and the targets that a designer is searching for or retrieving are predicted according to current goals and interpretations of the current state. However, what is the designer’s behavioural flow like? And what kind of stimuli connects with which type of idea has not been discussed so frequently in the past research. Especially, most related research about the designer’s thinking and designer’s behaviour has concentrated on the area of product design, engineering design and architectural design. Therefore, it is very important to explore the linkage relationship between the searched content and the transformed ideas in graphic designer’s ideation processes through the methods of in-situ observation. Furthermore, our observations on the designers’ sketches aim at tracing the interlinking of their ideas as far as possible, in which the sketches therefore could be regarded as a means of providing clues to trace the transformation of the designer’s ideas. Figure 1. Situatedness as the interaction of three worlds (Gero and Kannengiesser 2004) 2. Method This study conducted in-situ observation mainly to research the designer’s behavioural flow and to attempt to find the linkage relationship between the
  • 3. 3 content they are searching for and the content they are sketching in the ideation process. Every participant in this experiment was allowed the greatest freedom and unrestricted searching for relevant data to perform an assigned task in her practicing space as the situated designing happened in everyday. Each participant was given the needed time to perform her task in spite of the progress rate she achieved. We stopped recording when the designer thought that she has developed an idea she expected to serve as the final representation. At the same time, in order to avoid interrupting the participants’ ideation process, their behaviour and external representation throughout the period were monitored by a digital camera which was placed to the left side of the designer (see Figure 2), with the aim of gathering the designers’ nonverbal representations. (a) participant A (b) participant B Figure 2. Monitoring method in this experiment 2.1. PARTICIPANT AND TASK In this study, two graphic designers participated in the experiment by purposive sampling. Both of them had at least two years of experience and were not aware of the purpose of the experiment. The two participants’ backgrounds and personal information are presented in Table 1. The in-situ observation was executed in an individual studio and a clothing company in Taiwan. Two participants were assigned the same task that was devised by the experimenter for the sake of grasping all participants’ representations. The task in this study was as follows: to design a mark for the Paralympics (Table 1). TABLE 1. Two participants’ individual information and the design task Experience Participant Sex Type of company Design task (years) A female 7 individual studio to design a mark for the B female 2 in-house designer Paralympics
  • 4. 4 P. J. CHENG, J. YEN AND M. YOU 2.2. CODING SCHEME The experimental data in this study was segmented according to a set of behavioural codes using the content analysis technique. The designer’s behaviour coding scheme developed for the analysis were adjusted and shared the characteristics of Atman and Bursic’s design activity coding scheme (1996), Chusilp and Jin’s cognitive activity model of conceptual design (2004) and Cardella et al.’s representation coding scheme (2006). Therefore, ten kinds of behavioural codes were the coding standards of this research (the ten codes with definition are shown in Table 2). Moreover, the researchers also examined the whole film to certify that both designers’ behaviours within the recorded data could be categorized into the ten codes. A segment is the behavioural unit that the participants presented which was cut from the raw data that was transcribed from the video part of the experiment. It is the basic unit to analyze the presenting order of designer’s searching-retrieving behaviour (S-R behaviour) and other behaviours during the participants’ ideation process in this study as well. Furthermore, the completed segments from the observations were categorized by two people, one researcher and a coder who was provided with a behavioural record that had been segmented. Each segment categorized and coded by the coder was compared to the researcher’s, evaluated for inter-coder reliability, calculating an average rating of 92% agreement. TABLE 2. Behaviour coding scheme Behaviour (code) Definition Analyzing problem (AP) Reading task exposition provided by the experimenter; understanding and analyzing problems; defining what the problem really is; exploring requirements and constraints Generating ideas (GI) Writing down ideas to be used later; developing possible ideas for a solution; listing different alternatives Reading own keywords (ROK) Reading a keyword written by himself Looking at own sketches (LOS) Looking at a sketch drawn by himself Looking at relevant information Looking at information that searched or retrieved by himself (LRI) Deciding conception (DC) Selecting or composing ideas among alternatives; combining ideas generated from their mind Searching-retrieving information Searching for information in the reference material for capturing ideas; pasting memo stickers on reference; retrieving (S-R) information on-line for capturing ideas; saving information in hard disc Gathering information they Gathering relevant information searched for; arranging relevant searched for or retrieved (GISR) pictures or information and printing them out Creating new sketches (CNS) Creating a new picture, label or arrow Continuing to sketch (CS) Continuing to work on a sketch by drawing a picture, label or arrow
  • 5. 5 3. Results and Discussion This study conducted in-situ observation mainly for research the two participants’ behavioural flow and find the linkage between the searched content and the transformed ideas in their ideation processes. Analyses therefore concentrated on the behaviours that occurred to the participants and the content they were searching for and their sketching in this experiment, including the order of all their behaviours and the linkage between the searched content and sketches. 3.1. THE PRESENTING ORDER OF ALL BEHAVIOURS IN IDEATION FLOW The flowchart of the two participants’ behaviours that occurred in their ideation process are shown in Figure 3, as well as presented as a timeframe of all behaviours that occurred during their tasks. At the same time, this figure also indicates the order of ten kinds of behavioural codes that appeared during their ideation flow. Black and white dotted lines are utilized to connect the behaviours in sequence for easier recognition of the order of all behaviours of participants A and B. Therefore, all behaviours of participant A in order are AP, S-R, GISR, S-R, GISR, S-R, GISR, GI, GISR, GI, LRI, GI, S-R, GI, DC, CNS, S-R, CNS, S-R, DC, S-R, CS, S-R, LOS, CNS, GI, CNS, DC, CNS, CS, S-R and CS, while all participant B’s behaviours in order are: AP, S-R, GI, LRI, GI, S-R, CNS, S-R, CNS, S-R, CNS, GI, CS, CNS, LRI, CS, LOS, CNS, LOS, DC and CS. Additionally, the four black squares with white horizontal lines between the 33rd to the 38th minutes of participant A’s ideation flow means the presenting timescale of the participant’s four behaviours were overlapping in this period which cannot be separated by the method of observation in this study. In terms of the connective relationship among the behaviours, the study found a similar order of a stream of behaviours appears in the two participants’ ideation flow. In other words, we obtained some noticeable stages of behavioural connection within their designing by analyzing the experimental data. Firstly, there is only an obvious AP behaviour in the first stage which shows both of them analyzed the design problem in the beginning of the task. The first part of the second stage is a set of behavioural connections in which the S-R, GI and LRI behaviours appear by turns from about the 1st to the 30th minute of participant A’s ideation flow and from about the 2nd to the 8th minute of participant B’s. The second part of the second stage is also a set of behavioural connections in which the S-R, CNS and CS behaviours are presented by turns from about the 32nd to the 38th minute of participant A’s ideation flow and from about the 8th to the 19th minute of participant B’s. The last stage is a set of behavioural connections as well in which the LOS, CNS and CS behaviour are presented
  • 6. 6 P. J. CHENG, J. YEN AND M. YOU by turns from about the 38th to the 65th minute of participant A’s ideation process and from the about 19th to the 56th minute of participant B’s. Figure 3. The behavioural flow of participant A and B The three stages of the two participants’ behavioural flow in their ideation process is shown in Table 3 and interpreted as follows. First of all, in the first stage both participants are reading the task exposition to analyze the design problem they confronted in which they are appearing to exhibit chiefly analyzing behaviour. For this reason, the “analyzing stage” absolutely is the term of this period. The timescale of this stage is the shortest of the four stages, and took only about 1 minute to 2 minutes of participant A’s and B’s ideation time respectively. Then participant A started to retrieve relevant information on-line and printed the visual data out as the reference material to write down the keywords as the ideas they were generating in the first part of the second stage. Participant B exhibited the same behaviour to record a few keywords in this period as well. Thus, the main behaviour they are presenting in this period is searching-retrieving for generating ideas (S-R for GI). After the first part of the second stage, participant A searched for some visual information from a reference book mainly to create new sketches. At the same part of this stage, participant B was retrieving visual information on- line through keying in some keywords to create new representations similar to participant A’s intention. In particular, a large number of sketches were done by the two participants in this period: participant A created 11 sketches and participant B 16. Therefore, the chief behaviour they are showing in the second part of the second stage is searching-retrieving for creating new sketches (S-R for CNS). However, the major intention of the two participants in the first and second parts of the stage is forming the conceptualization to solve the design problem through the connections between S-R behaviour and GI behaviour and between S-R behaviour and
  • 7. 7 CNS behaviour. The two parts therefore are combined as the “conceptualizing stage” in this study. Lastly, both participants seemed to revise and adjust the sketches, adding some elements to the previous figures or drawing clear-cut outlines of the previous designs they accomplished in the previous stage. Therefore, the stage is called the “visualizing stage” in this study since the major intention of the two participants is visualizing the design solution specifically. However, the major difference between participant A and B is the use of drawing tools while they are sketching in this period. That is, participant A was drawing the previous designs which were done on paper by the computer graphic program instead with the traditional tool, pencil, which was utilized by participant B in the third stage. TABLE 3. Three behavioural stages of the participant A’s and B’s ideation flow Conceptualizing stage Stage Analyzing stage Visualizing stage S-R for GI S-R for CNS Connective AP S-R, GI and LRI S-R, CNS and CS LOS, CNS and CS codes 0 ~1st minute 1st ~ 30th minute 32nd ~ 38th minute 38th ~ 65th minute Participant A 0 ~2nd minute 2nd ~ 8th minute 8th ~ 19th minute 19th ~ 56th minute Participant B 3.2. THE LINKAGE BETWEEN THE SEARCHED CONTENT AND SKETCHES In order to find the linkage relationship between the content they were searching for and the content they were sketching in the ideation process this study merely analyzed the experimental data of the “conceptualizing stage” of the two participants to trace the linkage between the type of visual stimuli and the transformation of ideas in which they presented the S-R behaviour. That is, the periods were from about the 1st to the 40th minute of participant
  • 8. 8 P. J. CHENG, J. YEN AND M. YOU A’s designing and from about the 2nd to the 20th minute of participant B’s designing. The searched or retrieved content and sketches of the two participants in their ideation process are shown in Figure 4. The red dotted arrows with digits in Figure 4 show the order that the two participants carried out the sketches in the period. We also place the pictures outside the participants’ main sketches in sequence through examining the searched or retrieved content in the experimental data. The study examined the situation of participant A’s “conceptualizing stage” and interpreted it in sequence as follows. In the beginning of the “S-R for GI” duration of her conceptualizing stage, she keyed in six keywords to retrieve some information on-line in order to generate ideas, which included the gymkhana mark, Olympic mark, disabled-people icon, disabled-people, competitiveness and Paralympics. Then she wrote down twenty-seven keywords on a piece of paper as the ideas were utilized later on, like “heart”, “wheel chair”, “people”, “sun”, “colored ribbons”, “sport”, “flag”, “circle”, “rainbow” and so on. After that, she started to search for some visual stimuli from a reference book and pasted memory stickers on the targets she needed as reference materials. And then, she continued by writing down five keywords which include “wings”, “lines”, “colorful”, “silhouette” and “movement”. Next, she simultaneously drew some sketches as the first arrow shows and referred to the visual stimuli she had marked after having pasted memory stickers by or by looking at the keywords she has written down before. This period therefore transferred “S-R for GI” into “S-R for CNS” at this point. However, the four sketches obviously were influenced by the keywords, such as “heart”, “wheel chair”, “people” and “sun”. Then she did another three designs by referring to an abstract form as the picture shows which is placed to the left of the second arrow. We then found the three sketches that participant A had done differed from the others from which we conjecture that she was inspired by the abstract form. After that, she accomplished another three sketches by referring to the left picture near the third arrow, which includes figures of people, a running person and several circles, and the ideas she has used in the figures of the first arrow. Subsequently, she finished the two sketches below by referring to the picture near by the fourth arrow. She obviously combined a moving figure and the archery. Following this, she added wings on the first sketch which resulted in the picture below the fifth arrow. Then she added a square with three figures beneath on the fourth sketch of the first line that was influenced by the picture above the all the sketches. Lastly, she added a semicircle above the third sketch of the third line that was affected by the keyword, “rainbow”. However, we also traced the participant B’s “conceptualizing stage” and describe it as follows. During the beginning of the “S-R for GI” period of
  • 9. 9 her conceptualizing stage, she keyed in “defectives” and “gymkhana” to retrieve some information on-line to generate ideas. Then she wrote down eight keywords on a piece of paper like “gymkhana”, “a relay baton”, “activity”, “people”, “posture”, “torch”, “moving” and “circle”. After that, she started to draw an incomplete sketch. Afterward she started to draw a more complete sketch as the first arrow shows accompanied with S-R behaviour and referred to the marks of defective and Paralympics on-line. This period therefore transferred “S-R for GI” into “S-R for CNS” at this point. After this, she carried out the second and third sketches by referring to the two abstract figures as the picture shows that are placed to the left of the third arrow. And we also found the sketch as the third arrow directs is different from previous sketches from which we may conjecture that she was inspired by the two abstract forms. After that, she carried out the fourth sketch which is composed of the third sketch and a heart figure. Then she tried to transfer the form of the fourth sketch into the fifth sketch by adjusting the position of the heart figure. Subsequently, she carried out the sixth sketch by changing the colored ribbon of the previous sketch to the fire form by referring to the keyword she has written down, “torch”. And then, she tried to draw some new sketches indicated by the seventh and the eighth arrows which were affected by the keyword, “laurel”. Then she gave up the idea of laurel and kept on adjusting or revising the sixth sketch into another two sketches which are indicated by as the ninth arrow. Lastly, she accomplished a mark through clearly drawing the outline of the figure as the tenth arrow shows and adding black tone to it. 3.3. DISCUSSIONS By analyzing the observed data in this study, the designer’s behavioural flow in the ideation process is divided into three main stages between the problem input and the solution output. These stages are the “analyzing stage”, “conceptualizing stage” and “visualizing stage” (see Figure 5). Moreover, the “conceptualizing stage” includes the period of “S-R for GI” and “S-R for CNS”, in which the designer’s behaviour may represent the interactive structure of “seeing-moving-seeing” (Schön and Wiggins 1992). However, the study found three major differences in the whole ideation process between participant A and B. Firstly, in their task, participant A with seven years of experience, spent more time on searching for relevant visual stimuli to generate ideas than participant B who has only two years of experience. The S-R behaviour frequently appeared from about the 1st to the 40th minute of the participant A’s designing, but appeared only at the 20th minute of participant B’s designing. However, participant B spent more time on sketching new ideas or continually sketching than did participant A in their task. Second, participant A got ideas not only through searching for information from several reference books but also by retrieving data on-line
  • 10. 10 P. J. CHENG, J. YEN AND M. YOU while participant B merely retrieved relevant visual stimuli on-line during her ideation process. Last, participant A tended to generate new ideas by referring to the reference materials she had searched for, but participant B seemed to create new sketches after referring to the previous sketches she had done. Participant The participant’s searched or retrieved content and sketches Keywords: Heart, Wheel Chair, People and Sun Keywords Rainbow A B Keywords: Torch, Laurel Figure 4. The participant’s searched or retrieved content and sketches
  • 11. 11 Moreover, two phenomena could be drawn in the observation of the “S-R for GI” period and the “S-R for CNS” period. First, the two designers tend to generate more different directions for ideas in the “S-R for GI” period than in the “S-R for CNS” period. However, the designers combined different ideas or combined them with their imagination in the “S-R for CNS” period. Therefore, we connect this part of the results with the three main stages in the designer’s ideation process as shown in the model in Figure 5. Second, the designers drew all sketches on paper as the ideas they generated in different timescales in their ideation process. They also adjusted or revised the previous sketches they had done to form a complete idea after the designers searched for or retrieved new information that made them reflect more. Their sketches were continually changing as a result of different thoughts and new searched content of designers in different periods. The phenomenon serves to verify Tang’s assertion (2003) that sketches play a role to connect a previous design stage to a present one which may cause the designer continuing his/her unfinished ideas or shape the previous design into a better one. In terms of the linkage relationship of the searched content or the written keywords and the condition of the designer’s idea transforming, we found that the visual stimuli with more concrete features that the designer found were utilized to combine with others to form a complete idea. However, the visual stimuli with more abstract features seemed to be combined with the designer’s imagination to form some different ideas that differed from the previous ideas. Therefore, we adopted Gero and Kannengiesser’s interaction of three worlds (2004) to interpret this part of the results in this study. That is, the designers start to find some reference for gaining ideas to solve the problem since they faced a design problem. At the same time, they try to imagine what will be needed in their “expected world” to present the searching-retrieving (S-R) behaviour in their “external world”. Once the reference they found has the concrete feature sought after it will be combined together to form an idea through the designers’ interpretation in their “interpreted world” that interacts with their “external world”, in which the individual reference may be treated as a component that is assembled with others to be a whole. On the other hand, the reference they found that has an abstract feature will be immersed in designers’ “expected world” that is then combined with their imagination to form a different idea, in which the individual reference may be like a tractor for drawing out the designers’ memory, experience or knowledge to interact with the abstract reference to create a new one. Therefore, the previous discussion also could explain why designers tend to develop similar ideas when the reference materials they searched for were more concrete. On the contrary, abstract visual stimuli
  • 12. 12 P. J. CHENG, J. YEN AND M. YOU seem to give designers more different kinds of perspectives to form a greater diversity of ideas than the concrete visual stimuli produced. Figure 5. The model of designer’s behavioural flow in the ideation process 4. Conclusions This study utilized in-situ observation to examine two professional designers’ ideation process. From our results we propose a model for illustrating the designer’s behavioural flow in the ideation process. Four main findings in the study were: first, the designers’ behavioural flow in the ideation process is divided into three main stages between the problem input and the solution output, that is, the “analyzing stage”, the “conceptualizing stage” and the “visualizing stage”, and the “conceptualizing stage” includes the duration of “S-R for GI” and “S-R for CNS”. Second, the designers tend to generate more different directions of ideas in the “S-R for GI” period and combine different ideas or combine them with their imagination in the “S-R for CNS” period. Third, the visual stimuli with more concrete features that designers found was utilized to combine with others to form a complete idea while the visual stimuli with more abstract features seem to be combined with the designer’s imagination to form some ideas that differed from the previous ideas. Fourth, designers tend to develop similar ideas when the references they searched for were more concrete. On the contrary, the abstract visual stimuli seem to give designers more different kinds of perspectives to form a greater diversity of ideas than the concrete visual stimuli did. Finally, there are some restrictions and insufficiencies during our research that we should revise in any further study. They include the number of the participants and the results through in-situ observation are the limitations in this study. For the number of the participants, the research may be regarded as a pilot study for proposing an analytical method to the related
  • 13. 13 research in the design field. However, it is still insufficient to interpret the deep linkage relationship between the searched content and the transformed ideas in designer’s ideation flow merely through the method of in-situ observation. Therefore, other possible methods should be utilized as future studies. Acknowledgements The authors gratefully acknowledge the support for this research provided by the National Science Council under Grants No. NSC-96-2411-H-224-006. The authors also wish to thank the two professional designers who performed the designed task in this study, Xin-Yi Yu and Li-Lin Zhou. References Atman, CJ and Bursic, KM: 1996, Teaching engineering design: can reading a textbook make a difference? Research in Engineering Design 7(7): 240–250. Cardella, ME, Atman CJ and Adams, RS: 2006, Mapping between design activities and external representations for engineering student designers, Design Studies 27(1): 5–24. Chusilp, P and Jin, Y: 2004, Cognitive modeling of iteration in conceptual design, in Proceedings of ASME DETC’04 DETC2004-57521, Salt Lake City, USA. Dorst, K and Cross, N: 2001, Creativity in the design process: co evolution of problem— solution, Design Studies 22(5): 425–437. Gero, JS and Kannengiesser, U: 2004, The situated Function-Behaviour-Structure framework, Design Studies 25(4): 373–391. Goldschmidt, G: 1991, The dialectics of sketching, Creativity Research Journal 4(2): 123– 143. Goldschmidt, G: 1994, On visual design thinking: the vis kids of architecture, Design Studies 15(2): 159–174. Herbert, D: 1993, Architectural and study drawings, New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc. McGown, A, Green, G and Rodgers, P: 1998, Visible ideas: information patterns of conceptual sketch activity, Design Studies 19(4): 431–453. Petre, M and Sharp, H: 2006, Complexity through combination: an account of knitwear design, Design studies 27(2): 183–222. Schön, D and Wiggins, G: 1992, Kinds of seeing and their function in designing, Design Studies 13(2): 135–156. Simon, HA: 1969, Sciences of the artificial, Cambridge: MIT Press. Suwa, M and Tversky, B: 1997, What do architects and students perceive in their design sketches? A protocol analysis, Design Studies 18(4): 385–403. Suwa, M and Tversky, B: 2001, Constructive perception in design, in JS Gero and ML Maher (eds), Computational and cognitive models of creative design, University of Sydney, pp. 227–239. Suwa, M, Gero, J and Purcell, T: 2000, Unexpected discoveries and S-invention of design requirements: important vehicles for a design process, Design Studies 21(6): 539–567. Tang, HH: 2003, Visual Reasoning and Knowledge in the Design Process, in Proceeding of 6th Asian Design International Conference J-04, Tsukuba, Japan. Verstijnem, I, Hennessey, J, Leeuwen, C, Hamel, R and Goldschmidt, G: 1998, Sketching and creative discovery, Design Studies 19(4): 519–546.

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