CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures
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1. How do architects currently use CAD systems to produce drawings?
2. What are the effects of current CAD usage on product and performance?
3. What are the possible causes of current CAD usage?
4. What are the capabilities of the CAD medium and how can they be used efficiently?
The above four questions were addressed through the qualitative, quantitative, and cognitive analysis of data collected during an ethnographic study of architects working in their natural environment. The qualitative and quantitative analysis revealed that users missed many opportunities to use strategies that delegated iteration to the computer. The cognitive analysis revealed that missed opportunities to use such delegation strategies caused an increase in execution time, and an increase in errors many of which went undetected leading to the production of inaccurate drawings. These analyses pointed to plausible cognitive and contextual explanations for the inefficient use of CAD systems, and to a framework to identify and teach efficient CAD strategies. The above results were found to be neither unique to the CAD domain, nor to the office where the data were collected. The generality of these results motivated the identification of seven claims towards a general theory to explain and identify efficient strategies for a wide range of devices. This thesis contributes to the field of architecture by providing a detailed analysis of real-world CAD usage, and an approach to improve the performance of CAD users. The thesis also contributes to the field of human-computer interaction by demonstrating the generality of these results and by laying the framework for a general theory of efficient strategies which could be used to improve the performance of users of current and future computer applications.
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