Talk around things: prototyping and discussion in the design process

Peter, Andreas; Schadewitz, Nicole and Lloyd, Peter (2011). Talk around things: prototyping and discussion in the design process. In: 4th World Conference on Design Research (IASDR2011), 31 Oct - 4 Nov 2011, Delft, The Netherlands.



Designers have to manage an increasingly inter- disciplinary process which requires extensive collaboration and thus discussion between different parties. One way to manage discussion is to use prototypes to get across ideas, a major component of design thinking. The primary purpose of this paper is to begin to bring together the areas of prototyping on the one hand, and studies of design discussion on the other hand. The paper reports two studies conducted at Swiss product design agencies. The first sought to apply existing typologies of prototyping to examples collected for a prototyping database. The second looked at the form and proportion of discussion in real-time design activity. The paper concludes by distinguishing between prototype-rich environments and prototype-poor environments suggesting an area for further work is to explore whether better quality discussion can be had in the former. This is important because, as the paper shows, discussion takes up a significant part of the design process.

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