Facilitating Collaborative Design through Representations of Context and Intent

G. Fischer, K. Nakakoji, and J. Otswald

Domain-oriented design environments require support for three types of collaboration: (1) collaboration between domain-oriented designers (the users of design environments) and design environment builders, (2) collaboration between domain-oriented designers and clients (users of designed individual artifacts using a design environments), and (3) long-term direct collaboration among designers. Design environments provide representations that serve as a shared context for collaboration and ground languages of design. In this paper, we describe two components of our research work exploring domain-oriented design environments. First, the Knowing-in-Design (KID) environment uses explicit representations of the designers’ task at hand (representing a partial articulation of their intent) facilitate mutual education between clients and designers, and to deliver design knowledge relevant to the task at hand. Second, the Evolving-Artifact-Approach (EVA) which uses descriptive representations, functional representations, and seed prototypes to facilitate the mutual education process between designers and design environment builders necessary for achieying a deep knowledge of the application domain, for capturing design rationale, and for representing domain knowledge. Domain-oriented design environments are evolving artifacts supporting long-term indirect collaboration between designers: Each design produced in design environments contributes to the accumulated design knowledge. By delivering relevant information from the knowledge base, design environments create a virtual collaboration with past designers.

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