Designerly ways of knowing and doing : design embodiment and experiential design knowledge

Self, James, Dalke, Hilary and Evans, Mark (2013) Designerly ways of knowing and doing : design embodiment and experiential design knowledge. In: EKSIG 2013 Conference; 04 - 05 July 2013, Loughborough University, UK.


From divergent, conceptual design through to design convergence and specification, the designer employs a variety of tools of design representation (TDRs) in the development and communication of design intentions. This study investigates how the rich context of design activity influences designer attitudes towards and use of TDRs. A sample of designers of varying levels of expertise in the use of TDRs was identified and semi-structured interviews conducted. Qualitative content analysis was then used to analyse the resulting interview data. A coding frame identified emergent themes relating to the designers’ knowledge,understanding and use of TDRs in the embodiment and communication of design intentions. These themes were included in the coding frame as data-driven sub-categories. The final coding frame was then applied to the interview data and the coded segments of discourse were analysed to consider the nature of experiential design knowledge as it is exercised in the use of TDRs. The study contributes to an understanding of the designer’s perceptions of TDR use as these perceptions are themselves influenced by the context of design practice and the skills and experiences of the designer. Experiential design knowledge exists as part of a rich and complex contextual activity. Any attempt to understand this knowledge must take account for the ways in which it is embedded within the designer's own engagement with and understanding of this rich context.

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