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Title: Structuring multimedia data to capture design rationale and to support product development
Author: Phillips, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0001 3489 4653
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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Companies involved in product design face a major problem in retaining the vast amounts of data collated during the product development process. This thesis investigates how such multimedia design material can be preserved and structured to form a multimedia design rationale knowledge base for future reference or re-use by design teams. The scope of the research and the key issues are established through a study of product design and computer aided design support. The problems of eliciting tacit design knowledge, capturing design rationale and representing the resulting information in a form which is accessible to designers, are identified by a detailed field study of the product design process in a sportswear company. Existing design rationale representations are critiqued and a design knowledge base implemented and structured using a notation based on Kunz and Rittels' 'Issue Based Information System' (IBIS), (1970) referred to as IBIS+. All the data from a complete product development cycle, collated during the field study, was incorporated into the IBIS+ knowledge maps. These were constructed concurrently as the design cycle progressed. The knowledge base was made available to the design team both during and after the completion of the design cycle. To test and evaluate the IBIS+ notation the design team used the knowledge base to review their progress throughout the product development process. At the end of the design cycle they used it to reflect on their overall design procedure. Ways are identified in which the design process can be enhanced by capturing product design rationale. The rewards of effectively structuring multimedia product development material are shown to be substantial to design based companies, where data is primarily visual in nature, where design cycles are short, and where brand consistency is important. Problems with a knowledge representation based on the IBIS+ notation for capturing product design rationale are identified. An adapted notation, IBISPDR (Issue Based Information System Product Design Rationale) is proposed and domain specific graphical user interfaces aimed at streamlining access to the IBISPDR knowledge base in order to support domain specific design tasks are demonstrated. A task analysis comparing the usefulness of the IBIS+ and the IBISPDR notations confirms the success of the alterations to the notation and the suitability of the implemented interfaces. The proposed IBISPDR notation is shown to provide an adequate base from which to structure multimedia data collated during product development and for capturing product design rationale. The notation includes elements which are to be used to consolidate the design rationale as a useful resource for future reference; then some of the limitations of capturing the entire design rationale are overcome by a formal review meeting as part of a retrospective stage at the end of the design cycle. A practical way is suggested m which IBISPDR maps from one design cycle might be used as a starting point for the following cycle, through the creation of an IBISPDR template at the end of each design cycle. It is further demonstrated how a range of domain specific graphical user interfaces connected to an IBISPDR knowledge structure, can empower the design team to access, reflect on and utilise the underlying data for specific design tasks that enhance the product design process and aid future range planning. Recommendations are made for the direction of future research in this field.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available