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authors Kvan, Thomas and Kvan, Erik
year 1997
title Is Design Really Social
source Creative Collaboration in Virtual Communities 1997, ed. A. Cicognani. VC'97. Sydney: Key Centre of Design Computing, Department of Architectural and Design Science, University of Sydney, 8 p.
summary There are many who will readily agree with Mitchell’s assertion that “the most interesting new directions (for computer-aided design) are suggested by the growing convergence of computation and telecommunication. This allows us to treat designing not just as a technical process... but also as a social process.” [Mitchell 1995]. The assumption is that design was a social process until users of computer-aided design systems were distracted into treating it as a merely technical process. Most readers will assume that this convergence must and will lead to increased communication between design participants; that better social interaction leads to be better design. The unspoken assumption appears to be that putting the participants into an environment with maximal communication channels will result in design collaboration. The tools provided; therefore; must permit the best communication and the best social interaction. We think it essential to examine the foundations and assumptions on which software and environments are designed to support collaborative design communication. Of particular interest to us in this paper is the assumption about the “social” nature of design. Early research in computer-assisted design collaborations has jumped immediately into conclusions about communicative models which lead to high-bandwidth video connections as the preferred channel of collaboration. The unstated assumption is that computer-supported design environments are not adequate until they replicate in full the sensation of being physically present in the same space as the other participants (you are not there until you are really there). It is assumed that the real social process of design must include all the signals used to establish and facilitate face-to-face communication; including gestures; body language and all outputs of drawing (e.g. Tang [1991]). In our specification of systems for virtual design communities; are we about to fall into the same traps as drafting systems did?
keywords CSCW; Virtual Community; Architectural Design; Computer-Aided Design
series other
email tkvan@arch.hku.hk
references Content-type: text/plain
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