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UAL Research Online

Architect and User Interaction: The Spoken Representation of Form and Functional Meaning in Early Design Conversations

Luck, Rachael and McDonnell, Janet (2006) Architect and User Interaction: The Spoken Representation of Form and Functional Meaning in Early Design Conversations. Design Studies, 27 (2). pp. 141-166. ISSN 0142694X

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Luck, Rachael and McDonnell, Janet

In a collaborative design context where users engage in designing alongside design professionals, initial talks begin to frame the artefact as an abstraction. Conversationally designers and users socially construct attributes of the artefact; their talk brings the design into existence.

This work reports our investigation of the verbal exchange of ideas and information between designer (architect) and (building) users in the early stages of the building design process before the design brief or any drawings have been produced. It analyses types of information exchanged in early design conversations using a classification which distinguishes between functional and structural attributes of a building and those which relate to perceptual awareness, phenomenological experience, or symbolic meaning. The work contributes to understanding the influence of the form and settings of design interactions and interactional behaviours on the exchange of information distinguished in this way.

It presents an empirical study of pre-briefing conversations where the majority of exchanges concern functional and structural attributes of space and discussion touching on other significant aspects of space is much rarer. The work evaluates meeting contexts and the conversational strategies of design professionals used to prompt users for information, and the influence these have on the nature of the information provided.

The work contributes to the collaborative design research agenda through insights into how richer conversations between users and designers can be achieved; ones where users’ input can more readily extend beyond their past experience of living with other designs (the functional level) to address deeper associations, so that the designs which emerge are more likely to also meet users’ perceptual/symbolic needs and aspirations. It demonstrates how methods of micro-level analysis of verbal interactions, (here content and conversation analysis) which are not common in design research, can contribute new understandings in already extensively researched fields such as design collaboration.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Janet McDonnell's research centres on the study of design and other kinds of professional work as it takes place in natural settings where many competing practical pressures are at play. The focus of research is on different means of making practices 'visible' e.g. the methods in use, the decision-making behaviour, how ideas get introduced and established, the informational bases (sources, uses and quality) that individuals and groups rely on, and the influences of assumptions and norms. The overarching themes uniting different projects are an interest in supporting reflective practice, increasing the potential for individuals and groups to learn from experience, enabling user engagement in design, communication of expertise, and understanding the social interactional aspects of collaborative activity.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 1 March 2006
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1016/j.destud.2005.09.001
Related Websites: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/30409/description#description
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Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2009 15:25
Last Modified: 29 May 2014 09:30
Item ID: 1159
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1159

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