Hands-on representations in a two-dimensional space for early stages of design

Y. Yamamoto, K. Nakakoji, S. Takada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In design, problem analysis is as important as solution synthesis. Strategic knowledge is required not only for constructing a solution but also for framing a problem. While externalized representations play critical roles in design tasks, different types of representations are necessary for different stages of a design task. In early stages of a design task, design support tools need to provide hands-on representations with which a designer can easily perform trial-and-error and examine the whole as well as parts of the whole, allowing the designer to represent any levels of preciseness, as he/she likes. Sketching and drawing with paper and pencil provide an ideal representation for this process. But what about supporting design domains, such as writing or programming, where no sketching exists? In this paper, we argue that two-dimensional positioning of objects in a design support tool serves for the same purpose as sketching does for architectural design. Two-dimensional positioning allows a designer to produce hands-on representations that `talk back' to him/her without forcing the designer to formalize or verbalize what to be externalized. Two systems, ART for writing and RemBoard for component-based programming, illustrate the framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-384
Number of pages10
JournalKnowledge-Based Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Nov 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Software
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Artificial Intelligence


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