How Do Interruptions During Designing Affect Design Cognition?
- 1.3k Downloads
This paper reports an experimental study exploring how interruptions during designing affect designers’ cognition. The results are from studying 14 teams of two undergraduate computer science students. In an experiment with three conditions, each team completed three software design tasks of comparable complexity and scope. The first condition captured designers’ activities without interruptions, which served as a baseline for comparison with the other two conditions that explicitly incorporated two interruptive tasks. Design activities of all three conditions were videoed and analyzed utilizing an ontologically-based protocol analysis coding scheme. Inter-experiment comparisons showed that the design cognition of interrupted sessions were significantly different from the uninterrupted sessions, with increased cognitive efforts expended on generative aspect of designing, and decreased efforts on analytic and evaluative aspects. These differences could be accounted for by a strategic compensation, i.e., designers shifted their problem-solving strategies to make up for the interferences produced by interruptions.
KeywordsDesign Activity Design Issue Cognitive Effort Structure Issue Design Cognition
This research is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos IIS-10020709 and CMMI-1161715. 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 National Science Foundation.
- 4.Trafton JG, Monk CA (2008) Task interruptions. In: Boehm-Davis DA (ed) Reviews of human factors and ergonomics, vol 3. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Santa Monica, pp 111–126Google Scholar
- 6.Ratwani RM, Trafton JG, Myers C (2006, 16–20 Oct) Helpful or harmful? Examining the effects of interruptions on task performance. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 50th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA. Sage Publications, pp 372–375Google Scholar
- 9.Cross N, Christiaans H, Dorst K (eds) (1996) Analysing design activity. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
- 11.McDonnell J, Lloyd P (eds) (2009) About: designing: analysing design meetings. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
- 13.Gero JS (1990) Design prototypes: a knowledge representation schema for design. AI Mag 11:26–36Google Scholar
- 15.Latorella KA (1999) Investigating interruptions: implications for flightdeck performance. Virginia National Aeronautics and Space Administration, HamptonGoogle Scholar
- 16.Kan JWT, Gero JS (2009) Using the FBS ontology to capture semantic design information in design protocol studies. In: McDonnell J, Lloyd P (eds) About: designing: analysing design meetings, CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 213–229Google Scholar
- 17.Gero JS (2010) Generalizing design cognition research. In: Dorst K, Stewart SC, Staudinger I, Paton B, Dong A (eds) DTRS 8: interpreting design thinking. University of Technology Sydney, New South Wales, pp 187–198Google Scholar
- 18.Archer LB (1984) Systematic method for designers. In: Cross N (ed) Developments in design methodology. Wiley, New York, pp 57–82Google Scholar
- 19.Cross N (2008) Engineering design methods: strategies for product design, 4th edn. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
- 20.Pahl G, Beitz W, Feldhusen J, Grote K-H (2007) Engineering design: a systematic approach (trans: Wallace K, Blessing L, 3rd English edn.). Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 21.Smith SM, Dodds RA (1999) Incubation. In: Runco MA, Pritzker SR (eds) Encyclopedia of creativity, vol 2. Associated Press, San Diego, pp 39–44Google Scholar
- 22.Brockett C (1985) Neuropsychological and cognitive components of creativity and incubation, Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityGoogle Scholar
- 23.Dodds RA, Ward TB, Smith SM (2004) A review of the experimental literature on incubation in problem solving and creativity. In: Runco MA (ed) Creativity research handbook, vol 3. Hampton Press, CresskillGoogle Scholar