What-if design aims at proactively supporting the designer in knowledge work that is considered routine work in a specific field. Based on the simple axiom that a design decision leads to a change of the product definition, resulting in one or more (updated) downstream analyses that can be used to assess the consequences of the decision, it is possible to deduce a pattern for a structured way of working. This structure hypothesizes that design decisions can often be rephrased as so-called
questions like: “
is the change in the environmental impact of this part
the material is changed from aluminum to polyurethane?” Fig.
shows another example. By deriving rules of logic from the routine in previous projects, what-if design is able to take care of the larger part of the basic...