Att artikulera och kommunicera insikt - bild och ord i tidiga skeden av designprocesser
Licentiate thesis, 1997
This thesis describes the development of a method and tool for communication between participants in the early stages of a design process. Such methods are part of what we call collective design processes. This term implies stronger user influence than normally is the case in participatory design. A collective design process is an activity where actors from different disciplines in an organisation, as well as external experts, take part in the actual design process. In traditional participatory design processes the architect leads the process. He listens to the users and interprets what they say when looking for solutions.
A major problem in all participatory design processes is communication. The individual, social, professional and cultural differences within an organisation are often a barrier for communication. One kind of problem is the difficulties which arise when the actors from different disciplines use different languages to communicate with each other. The actors interpret the information they receive according to their own language, related to their professional, cultural and social situation.
Another problem is the communication between the designer and the participants from a client organisation. The designer has the ability to communicate by means of pictures and sketches, while the other actors use common language. This situation gives the designer a big advantage. The designer has the opportunity to set the agenda for the discussion. Graphic representations produced by the designer can also influence the thinking of the other actors, especially if they have not yet articulated their own concepts.
The method and tool we have developed are useful for communication between the designer and the other actors, as well as cross-disciplinary communication within the organisation. We propose to use pictures in early stages of the collective design process to give the actors an opportunity to reflect and articulate pre-conceptual ideas first for themselves, then for each other in order to develop a common understanding. By doing so the actors develop a language game related to the specific situation. The understanding will then be easier to communicate further to the designer.
In this thesis I describe the design of a suggested method for articulation and communication in early stages of the design process.