Creative Design Lab (HCI206)


2. About Design process

Design is seen as an iterative process, not as methodology. It includes design techniques (or methods) but not organised in a strict way, rather loosely used per stage of the design process.


Design is at the core of human activity; it defines what humans are.

The effort to classify design activity as being (or not) a scientific activity is irrelevant, as that question is invalid (Gedenryd, 1998).


Alexander, JC Jones 1960?s efforts to systematize design methods (treating design activity as scientific activity) later rejected effort tw systematic design methodology


Lawson (1980)

Design is a prescriptive activity Answering ?what it could be? or ?what it could be??

Designers try to define the future by forming an informed understanding of the present.

No optimal design solutions. No absolute method.


Schon (1983)

During the design process the designer iteratively reflects on the problem, provides elements of solutions, evaluated them, in iterative cycles of reconsideration and action based on the previous step.


Design activity is a problem solving activity, investigating and identifying aspects of the problem space.

designers should not design with fixed goals [(Simon, 1969), because design activity is a means to identify further design goals ? even goals that may be inconsistent with the original goals of the design activity.

Each situation that design generates is a starting point for a new design activity, and with this process one gradually identifies different aspects of the problem space.  (iterative process).

Design is systematic in its process

Not in the way it applies its methods

techniques that are analytical , others intuitive


no overall methodology,

3 broad iterative interascociated process phases:

thinking, designing, realizing


Design thinking is a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues looks for an improved future result.

combines empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and drive business success.

Unlike analytical thinking, design thinking is a creative process based around the "building up" of ideas.

There are no judgments early on in design thinking. no fear of failure -maximum input and participation in the ideation and prototyping/sketching encouraged.


Design Methods focus on:

Understanding the user and the context of use

Exploring possibilities and constraints by focusing critical thinking skills to research and

define problem spaces for existing products or services?or the creation of new categories; (Brainstorming)

Redefining the specifications of solutions which can lead to better guidelines for traditional design activities

Managing the process of exploring, defining, creating artifacts continually over time

Prototyping possible solution scenarios that incrementally or significantly improve the inherited situation

Trendspotting; understanding the trend process.



There is no single way to practice design methods.

inherent flexibility is in the design approach; it is a combined product of the right use of techniques and methods as much as of intuition and skill. (T. Winograd), (Cross, 2008).

 "Methodology should not be a fixed track to a fixed destination, but a conversation about everything that could be made to happen. The language of the conversation must bridge the logical gap between past and future, but in doing so it should not limit the variety of possible futures that are discussed nor should it force the choice of a future that is unfree."(Jones 1991)