In this dynamic review and synthesis of empirical research and theoretical discussion of design as cognitive activity, Willemien Visser reconciles and integrates the classical view of design, as conceptualized by Herbert Simon's symbolic information processing approach, with modern views of design such as the situativity approach, as formulated by Donald Schön. The author goes on to develop her own view on design, in which design is most appropriately characterized as a construction of representations.
The Cognitive Artifacts of Designing takes seriously the idea that design research warrants development in the cognitive sciences, and Visser lays the groundwork for the integration of design research and cognitive science. This seemingly simple framework -- designing is the construction of representations -- has implications that set the stage for this mutually beneficial integration.
This volume will be of great interest to scholars concerned with design -- not only in cognitive design studies, but also in design methodology and engineering -- as well as cognitive scientists who are interested in problem solving in 'the real world.' Cognitive ergonomists and design practitioners will also be richly rewarded by a close reading of this volume.
Contents: Foreword. Preface. Part I: Introduction. Focus of This Book. Public Addressed. Some Historical Pointers. Preliminary Terminological Issues. Models of Design. Our Empirical Design Studies at a Glance. Part II: The Classical View on Design. The Symbolic Information Processing (SIP) Approach. Herbert A. Simon. Simon's Framework for Design: The Sciences of the Artificial. Discussion of the Symbolic Information Processing Approach to Design. Part III: Modern Views on Design. The Situativity (SIT) Approach. Situativity and Other Alternatives to the SIP Approach. Early SIT-Inspired Research. Current SIT-Inspired Research. Discussion of the Situativity Approach to Design. Part IV: Confronting Classical and Modern Views on Design. Symbolic Information Processing Versus Situativity Debates in the Literature. Confrontation of the SIP and SIT Approaches. Part V: Design as Construction of Representations. Definition of Design. Representations. Representations at the Source of a Design Project: Requirements and "Design Problems". Intermediate Representations. Representations at the End of a Design Project: Specifications and "Design Solutions". Designing as an Activity: Construction of Representations. Discussion. Part VI: Conclusion. SIP and SIT, Individual and Collective Design. Design Involves More Than Problem Solving. Construction of Representations: Conclusion and Framework for Further Research.