A Design Thinking Rationality Framework: Framing and Solving Design Problems in Early Concept Generation

Human-Computer Interaction (2014)

Jieun Kim & Hokyoung Ryu


Abstract: The concept of ‘Design Thinking’ opens up debate regarding the prevalent HCI design practice. This paper focuses specifically on the cognitive processes of designers during their early design activities. Two groups of designers – experts and novices – were asked to develop a fictitious vacuum cleaner. We then examined the different ways in which these groups manage their design thinking processes, and how the groups choose design concepts. The empirical study revealed that expert designers are effective at framing design problems. They make quick decisions (through the use of the affect heuristic) but are more wedded to their own previously developed design concepts, which they do not change in subsequent design stages. In contrast, novice designers are less skilled in framing new design problems, but better able to renounce their initial design concepts. These diverse design thinking approaches are linked to potential problems. We then discuss how to address these concerns in conjunction with empathy for the artefact (i.e. artefact empathy via the mediated self) or user (i.e. user empathy via the simulated self), problem framing with second-order semantic connotations, and irrationality when analysing design solutions. Finally, we propose a design thinking rationality framework that can establish a designer’s view of design activities and thereby assist designers educated in both creative and rational design decisions.

This article concludes that the designer needs to oscillate between high involvement with the artefact for innovation design and intentional detachment from the artefact for rationality design. By this we mean that the design thinking rationality framework would enable the designer to step back from his or her projected experience to take note of wider relationships upon which the qualities of the whole design concept will depend. Furthermore, it claims that the HCI community is in need of amalgamating a broader theme of engineering design processes and design-oriented cognitive models. A better understanding of designers’ cognition would result in suggestions for a new direction for the HCI perspective built upon the engineering design process.
Link to read more,http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07370024.2014.896706