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Talking about design, most discussions circulate around physical objects or products, around their invention, development, production and marketing. While most modern design approaches do also cover questions pertaining to human interaction, e.g. within user- or human-centred design philosophies, a systematic and fundamental conception of the role and implications that human perception and emo-cognitive processing take with regard to designing physical goods is lacking. Under the umbrella term ‘Psychology of Design’, I will develop and elaborate on psychological dimensions that are highly relevant to the optimization and evaluation of design. I propagate a general psychological turn in design theory and practice in order to purposefully include not only the top-down processes triggered by context, framing, expectation, knowledge or habituation but also the psychological effects of Gestalt and Zeitgeist. Such psychological effects have the potential to determine whether the very same physical design will be aesthetically appreciated, desired, loved or rejected in the end. Psychology of design has a tremendous influence on the success and sustainability of design by triggering associations and displaying demand characteristics in a multimodal way. The paper is based on fundamental psychological theories and empirical evidences which are linked to applied examples from the world of art and design.
This paper presents an exercise on theory building to characterise design ideation. It starts by examining how early ideas are defined and evaluated in the literature. An essentialist view is identified that explains the creativity of a final design solution by the creative qualities of early ideas attributed by external judges. Criteria for a theory of ideation that does not rely on the primacy of essence are enumerated. Advanced professional practice is examined to understand evaluation of early ideas ‘in the wild’. Accretion is then introduced as an analogical model to imaginatively drive definitions and conjectures about idea formation in the co-evolution of problem and design spaces. Vignettes from ideation episodes are used to illustrate an accretion theory of ideation. An accretion theory supports new ways to think about ideation as a complex formation process where creative solutions emerge from the synthesis of a multitude of fragmentary and partial ideas – or ‘ideasimals’. An accretion theory of ideation helps to explain the creative value of a final design solution without relying on early ideas having a creative essence, because the creativity of a solution is viewed as emergent rather than present in early versions. An accretion lens is used to suggest new ideation metrics to study the qualities of idea fragments and the process of idea formation. Definitions and relevant assessment regimes for different stages of ideation are discussed. The paper concludes with a discussion on entailments of an accretion theory and next steps for this theory building enterprise.
The performance of a design team is influenced by each team member’s unique cognitive style – i.e., their preferred manner of managing structure as they solve problems, make decisions, and seek to bring about change. Cognitive style plays an important role in how teams of engineers design and collaborate, but the interactions of cognitive style with team organization and processes have not been well studied. The limitations of small-scale behavioral experiments have led researchers to develop computational models for simulating teamwork; however, none have modeled the effects of individuals’ cognitive styles. This paper presents the Kirton Adaption–Innovation Inventory agent-based organizational optimization model (KABOOM), the first agent-based model of teamwork to incorporate cognitive style. In KABOOM, heterogeneous agents imitate the diverse problem-solving styles described by the Kirton Adaption-Innovation construct, which places each individual somewhere along the spectrum of cognitive style preference. Using the model, we investigate the interacting effects of a team’s communication patterns, specialization, and cognitive style composition on design performance. By simulating cognitive style in the context of team problem solving, KABOOM lays the groundwork for the development of team simulations that reflect humans’ diverse problem-solving styles.
The construction of future technological systems in work domains that do not yet exist, known as the envisioned world problem, is an increasingly important topic for designers, particularly given the rapid rate of technological advancement in the modern era. This paper first discusses the theoretical underpinnings of using cognitive work analysis (CWA) for developing a decision support system (DSS) situated within the envisioned world problem and recasts the problem as pathway-dependent processes. Using this pathway-dependent framework, each stage of the envisioning process is described to reveal how human factors experts can link existing work domains to envisioned instances. Finally, a case study example of the envisioning process that incorporates CWA modelling is demonstrated as it pertains to the advancement of the human spaceflight domain. As a result, this paper provides a unified treatment of the envisioned world problem with an end-to-end example of one approach to designing future technologies for future work domains.