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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id acadia07_230
authors Qian, Cheryl Z.; Chen, Victor Y.; Woodbury, Robert F.
year 2007
title Participant Observation Can Discover Design Patterns in Parametric Modeling
source Expanding Bodies: Art • Cities• Environment [Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture / ISBN 978-0-9780978-6-8] Halifax (Nova Scotia) 1-7 October 2007, 230-241
summary Our research aims to understand the mid-level patterns of work that recur across designers and tasks. Our users comprise active architects and civil engineers. The hypothesis is that making such patterns explicit will result in improved expert work practices, in better learning material and suggestions for improvements in parametric design. The literature shows that patterns express design work at a tactical level, above simple editing and below overall conception. We conducted a user experience study based on Bentley’s GenerativeComponents, in which geometry can be related, transformed, generated, and manipulated parametrically within a user-defined framework. After interviewing the system’s chief, we ran a participant-observer study in the January 2007 SmartGeometry workshop. We engaged designers through the role of tutor and simultaneously observed and discussed their design process. We found clear evidence of designers using patterns in the process and discerned several previously unknown patterns. In February at another 10-day workshop, we found more evidence supporting prior findings. The paper demonstrates that participant observation can be an efficient method of collecting patterns about designers’ work and introduces such new patterns. We believe these patterns may help designers work at more creative levels and may suggest new ideas of interest to CAD application developers.
series ACADIA
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