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IM-sgi: an interface model for shape grammar implementations

  • Joana Tching (a1), Joaquim Reis (a1) and Alexandra Paio (a2)


Information technologies are a driving force for progress in the design field, allowing new modes of creativity. However, most of the existing computational design tools are focused on the latest stages of the design process and especially directed to drafting operations. Conceptual design tools that support the designer in the creative and inventive early stages of the design project are still in their early development. Shape grammars (SG) were introduced by George Stiny in the 1970s, allowing the generation of designs according to a set of predefined rules. SG computational implementations have the potential to answer the need for tools that can assist designers, architects, and artists in the creative process, offering design alternatives, stimulating new ideas and encouraging the search for new design generation processes. Acknowledging this potential, a user-friendly interface seems essential for the adoption of these tools. Taking Scott Chase's interaction model as background, the aim of the present investigation is to define guidelines and begin to design a graphical-user interface for SG implementations. Inspection methods of human–computer interaction (HCI) were used to analyze existing SG implementations and understand usability issues. Subsequently, HCI ergonomic criteria for interface evaluation were adapted to establish guidelines for the design of an SG implementation interface, called IM-sqi. These guidelines take into account different user groups, adjustable interaction modes for each user group, and the nature of each task performed by the user.


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Author for correspondence: Joana Tching, E-mail:


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IM-sgi: an interface model for shape grammar implementations

  • Joana Tching (a1), Joaquim Reis (a1) and Alexandra Paio (a2)


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