Abstract

This paper reports a multiple case study conducted at six design consultancies from the fields of architecture, industrial design, and interior design. The data was collected through short-term field studies at each consultancy. The focus was on exploring how designers know about users while designing. According to the constructivist learning theory, the learner is not a passive receiver of information. Instead, learning requires construction of knowledge from information. In line with this theory, it was observed that in their design process, designers at studied consultancies did not always utilize the user information available to them as it is. Instead, designers’ references to users were more abstract and interpreted in character. Thus, user is a constructed phenomenon in the design process. There are multiple personal and organizational mediators that play a role in the construction of designers’ user knowledge. Through these mediators, designers transform the user information into user knowledge and utilize this user knowledge, which is in the form of tacit user model, within their design process.

Keywords:

User information; User knowledge; User model; Constructivist learning theory

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Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Transforming User Information into User Knowledge: A Multiple Case Study

This paper reports a multiple case study conducted at six design consultancies from the fields of architecture, industrial design, and interior design. The data was collected through short-term field studies at each consultancy. The focus was on exploring how designers know about users while designing. According to the constructivist learning theory, the learner is not a passive receiver of information. Instead, learning requires construction of knowledge from information. In line with this theory, it was observed that in their design process, designers at studied consultancies did not always utilize the user information available to them as it is. Instead, designers’ references to users were more abstract and interpreted in character. Thus, user is a constructed phenomenon in the design process. There are multiple personal and organizational mediators that play a role in the construction of designers’ user knowledge. Through these mediators, designers transform the user information into user knowledge and utilize this user knowledge, which is in the form of tacit user model, within their design process.

 

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