Making Sense of Communication Associated with Artifacts during Early Design Activity

  • Moushumi Sharmin
  • Brian P. Bailey
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6946)


Communication associated with artifacts serves a critical role in the creation, refinement, and selection of conceptual ideas. Despite the close relationship between ideas and surrounding communication, effective integration ofthese two types of design materials are not well-supported by exiting design tools - resulting in ad-hoc and ineffective strategies for managing communication during the design process. In this paper, we report the results of a contextual inquiry (N=15) aimed at understanding communication practices, its role in the design process, and strategies utilized by designers to manage and utilize communication outcomes in relation to artifacts. Our findings show thatmore than 50% of early design activity consists of three categories of communication (information seeking, brainstorming, and feedback) and communication practice varies as a function of expertise, organizational and social factors. Additionally, novice and freelance designers exhibit greater reliance on online forums to find suitable communication partners to generate and refine ideas whereas experts communicate with other experts or team members for information collection and sharing.


Design Artifacts Communication Ideation User Study 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moushumi Sharmin
    • 1
  • Brian P. Bailey
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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