Card-based Tools For Creative And Systematic Design

Roy, Robin and Warren, James (2018). Card-based Tools For Creative And Systematic Design. In: Proceedings of the Design Research Society DRS2018 conference (TBC), pp. 1075–1087.



Many card-based design tools have been produced, initially mainly to stimulate creative thinking, with an upsurge after 2000 when many more such tools were produced, especially to aid user experience and human-centred design. Different authors have categorised the tools in different ways, usually based on small samples, and there is no accepted classification system. Our analysis of 72 card-based design tools produced a new classification and also identified that the tools work in several different ways – e.g. offering creative stimuli or summaries of design methods. Trials of card-based design tools for stimulating creativity seem to enable designers to generate more innovative design concepts, but the practicality of the concepts is not proven. The card-based tools most likely to lead to practical outcomes are those which summarise domain-specific design methods or good practices that designers can apply to real-world tasks. Often these tools are used and tested by those who developed them. Hence, more independent, controlled trials are needed to help establish their practical effectiveness.

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