An Exploration of the Roles Values Play in Design Decision-Making

TRIMINGHAM, Rhoda (2009). An Exploration of the Roles Values Play in Design Decision-Making. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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The paper presents the findings of a study into design decision-making and specifically the use of values during design decision-making. It briefly describes the development of a taxonomy of values used in design decision-making developed from a series of pilot interviews, protocol analysis and focus groups. This was necessary because although the values agenda is not new, previous studies were found to have gaps, or did not reflect the current state of play. From this more in-depth case studies were carried out to explore the influence of values in design decision-making. Eight designers were asked to design a lectern out of sustainable materials. They were given one day to complete the project. For one hour during the day they were asked to ‘talk aloud’ while being videoed, also known as concurrent verbalisation and protocol analysis. They also took part in a 40 minute retrospective interview about their design work, at the end of the day. One designer was asked to complete a ten day design project in order to verify the results against a longitudinal project. They also took part in a 40 minute retrospective interview at the end of the project. The paper presents some of the rich data collected during the study. And illustrates the ability to research the role of values in design decision-making. The data generated shows values driving many of the decisions designers make including the way in which they cognitively organise their design activity and through which they can reduce avenues of enquiry.

Design Decision-Making, Knowledge, Skills, Values, Empirical Evidence, Research Methods

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:49

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