Research in Engineering Design

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 109–124 | Cite as

Interpretation in design: modelling how the situation changes during design activity

  • Nick Kelly
  • John S. Gero
Original Paper


This paper presents a model of the way that designers move between situations when interpreting during design activity. Three hypotheses are presented that arise from this model: that designers change their situation during interpretation, that small changes in a source can lead to large changes in the representation and that changes to the situation have their origins in the experience of the designer. The paper demonstrates how this internal movement between situations can be computationally implemented using three examples. The systems implemented demonstrate the way that interpretation can lead to changes in the situation and present an example of how the changes to a designer’s situation can be guided by past experiences.


Situated design Computational modelling Interpretation 



This work has been supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship, by the Australian Research Council under grant no. DP 0559885 and by the US National Science Foundation under Grant No. SBE-0915482. Writing support has been provided by the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile through the MECESUP PUC0611 project. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Research Council or of the US National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Digital Futures InstituteUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study and Computational Social ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.Computer Science and ArchitectureUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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