Abstract

Although computers and other digital tools are well accepted in many design companies these days, for some activities, traditional tools are still preferred. Especially when new ideas should be developed and the design problem is not yet well defined, people tend to rely on pen, paper and whiteboards. Nevertheless, for these working modes digital tools can be beneficial as well. Ideas and results can be saved for future use, parallel lines of thought can be pursued, and in particular creative work for geographically distributed design teams can be enabled. In this paper, we present the findings from a qualitative study, in which design thinking teams used a digital environment for their creative work. The given challenge was intentionally not well-defined and involved various design thinking phases, such as user research, synthesis, ideation, and prototyping. As all participants were used to traditional tools, we focused on the comparison between an analog setup and digital whiteboards and sticky notes. Results show that all participants could well accomplish their usual way of working with the digital environment and came to satisfying results. However, the acceptance and readiness to use a digital system varied among participants. We will explain which factors are most important for the adoption of a digital system, for which methods and activities it works best, and how well customary hardware is suitable for the teams’ working modes.

Keywords

design thinking, digital whiteboard, analog vs. Digital

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Transferring Traditional Design Work to the Digital World – Does it work?

Although computers and other digital tools are well accepted in many design companies these days, for some activities, traditional tools are still preferred. Especially when new ideas should be developed and the design problem is not yet well defined, people tend to rely on pen, paper and whiteboards. Nevertheless, for these working modes digital tools can be beneficial as well. Ideas and results can be saved for future use, parallel lines of thought can be pursued, and in particular creative work for geographically distributed design teams can be enabled. In this paper, we present the findings from a qualitative study, in which design thinking teams used a digital environment for their creative work. The given challenge was intentionally not well-defined and involved various design thinking phases, such as user research, synthesis, ideation, and prototyping. As all participants were used to traditional tools, we focused on the comparison between an analog setup and digital whiteboards and sticky notes. Results show that all participants could well accomplish their usual way of working with the digital environment and came to satisfying results. However, the acceptance and readiness to use a digital system varied among participants. We will explain which factors are most important for the adoption of a digital system, for which methods and activities it works best, and how well customary hardware is suitable for the teams’ working modes.

 

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