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authors Chien, Sheng-Fen
year 1998
title Supporting information navigation in generative design systems
source Camegie Mellon University, School of Architecture
summary Generative design systems make it easier for designers to generate and explore design altematives, but the amount of information generated during a design session can become very large. Intelligent navigation aids are needed to enable designers to access the information with ease. Such aids may improve the usability of generative design systems and encourage their use in architectural practice. This dissertation presents a comprehensive approach to support navigation in generative design systems. This approach takes account of studies related to human spatial cognition, wayfinding in physical environments, and information navigation in electronic media. It contains a general model of design space, basic navigation operations, and principles for designing navigation support. The design space model describes how the space may grow and evolve along predictable dimensions. The basic operations facilitate navigation activities in this multi-dimensional design space. The design principles aim at guiding system developers in creating navigation utilities tailored to the needs of individual design systems. This approach is validated through prototype implementations and limited pilot usability studies. The validity of the design space model and basic navigation operations is examined through the development of a design space navigation framework that encapsulates the model and operations in a software environment and provides the infrastructure and mechanisms for supporting navigation. Three prototype navigation tools are implemented using this framework. These tools are subjected to usability studies. The studies show that these tools are easy to leam and are efficient in assisting designers locating desired information. In summary, it can be demonstrated that through the prototype implementations and usability studies, this approach offers sufficient support for the design and implementation of navigation aids in a generative design system. The research effort is a pioneer study on navigation support in generative design systems. It demonstrates why navigation support is necessary; how to provide the support; and what types of user interaction it can offer. This research contributes to information navigation studies not only in the specific domain of generative design system research, but also in the general field of human-computer interaction.
series thesis:PhD
email schien@mail.ntust.edu.tw
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