The power of the dollhouse: Comparing the use of full-scale, 1:16-scale and virtual 3D-models for user evaluation of workstation design
Journal article, 2018
The benefits of having users evaluate product or workplace design during the development process are well known. This is often achieved by letting users interact with one or more models of the design proposal, in order to elicit feedback. The issue for product developers is to choose what type(s) of models to use (from paper drawings to physical or virtual mock-ups or fully working prototypes) and when to use them in the development process, while making optimal use of resources like time, money and personnel. This paper compares three types of simple three-dimensional (3D) models (1:1 scale, 1:16 scale and CAD) representing a ship bridge workstation, examining what kind of feedback they elicit in a design evaluation with representative users. Participants were asked to assess the proposed design and to compare the models' relative merits. The study found that while all three types of 3D models elicited several types of useful design feedback, there were differences in both quantity and content of the feedback elicited by each model type. The physical models elicited more feedback than the CAD model, both regarding content richness (direct and indirect design feedback) and quantity. The tangibility of the models seems to greatly influence acceptance and credibility.