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Title: Techniques and Artefacts for Documenting Design Rationale Among Multidisciplinary Design Teams
Authors: GUTIERREZ LOPEZ, Marisela 
Advisors: CONINX, Karin
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: In this PhD, I investigate the collaborative practices and digital tools used by design teams following a user-centered approach to create interactive systems. More specifically, I focus on how designers document design rationale and communicate it to team members of different disciplines. Previous research has shown that including a variety of actors and discourses into design activities stimulates creativity and innovation. Nevertheless, miscommunications frequently occur due to dissimilar priorities, vocabularies, and preferences. Consequently, designers must find ways to communicate the rationale of design solutions – what the solution is about and why it is appropriate in a given context. While several tools have been proposed to document design rationale, they remain largely under adopted, since they tend to constrain and structure design thinking. This research responds to these challenges by investigating the collaborative practices of designers and proposing tools to document design rationale around design artefacts in a way that fits current work practices. In particular, I present three core contributions. First, I uncover issues related to collaboration faced by designers, which are situated in multidisciplinary communication, information sharing, and documentation of design processes and outcomes. These issues expose design directions for tools to support the collaborative practices of design teams in a manner that respects their processes and working styles. Second, I present two tools that provide a low threshold approach to document design rationale and decisions. These tools activate team communication and enable creative design by providing a shared workspace to facilitate visual communication based on artefacts. Third, I demonstrate that our approach to design documentation allows rationales to emerge organically together with artefacts, and enables design teams to generate ideas in collaboration. Furthermore, the tools aid design teams to reflect on previous work and possible courses of action, which promote awareness and allow them to track design rationale and decisions over time.
Keywords: design process; collaboration; artefacts; design rationale; digital tools
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Category: T1
Type: Theses and Dissertations
Appears in Collections:PhD theses
Research publications

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