Accession Number:

ADA454621

Title:

Designers and Their Tools: Computer Support for Domain Construction

Descriptive Note:

Doctoral thesis

Corporate Author:

COLORADO UNIV AT BOULDER DEPT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1995-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

217.0

Abstract:

In todays high-technology workforce, many designers work in dynamic and innovative domains such as user interface and software design. This thesis considers the problem of providing these designers with computational design support tools. It differs from other efforts in that the emphasis is on understanding and supporting the evolutionary patterns of change inherent in dynamic domains. The motivating problem investigated is flexibility, specifically How can systems provide domain-specific support for short-term design activities yet still be flexible enough to accommodate long-term evolutionary patterns of change in the domain Three empirical studies show how design communities gradually construct their domain by defining important domain objects, creating and evolving representations for viewing these objects, and establishing relationships between objects and representations. The observed design process is termed domain construction. Analyses of these studies are used to characterize the observed domain construction processes of use, elaboration, and modification. Design environments based on two computational models are analyzed in terms of these domain construction processes. The two computational models occupy seemingly different ends of the spectrum from support to flexibility. The Toolbelt model where practitioners assemble and evolve collections of generic software applications, seemingly offers more flexibility. The Domain-Oriented Design Environment model, where customized domain-oriented tools are created for a specific community, seemingly provides better support but is less flexible. These intuitions are investigated to better understand which aspects of a computational model i.e., underlying data models, domain models, architectures, and integration services help or hinder an environments overall flexibility. The results are used to develop recommendations for the next generation of design support environments.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Programming and Software

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE