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Three design experiments for computer-supported collaborative design

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The purpose of the present article is to examine how virtual design studio environments can be used to aid collaborative designing and to describe some of our experiences in supporting collaborative design with such environments. The authors will introduce three design projects. These were projects, respectively, for designing clothes for premature babies; conference bags; and tactile books for visually impaired children: they constitute a continuum in terms of being design experiments, each of which highlights certain perspectives on the virtual design process. Our approach, in which the first author was acting as a teacher in each project, made it possible to address current problems faced in the field of virtual designing. The purpose of our design experiments is set up, foster, and investigate an iterative design process, in which previous observations and lessons can be applied to the enhancement of educational settings and practices. The authors examined how participants create shared design ideas, to what extent users can be involved in the design process (participatory designing), and how expert knowledge is utilized. According to our experiments, the progressive inquiry model can fruitfully be applied to collaborative designing to facilitate participants' interaction processes of developing design ideas and sharing their expertise through the virtual design studio.

Keywords: collaborative designing; design education; design experiment; textile design project; virtual design studio

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Joensuu. 2: University of Helsinki.

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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