Externalisation and Design

Alan Dix1,2 and Layda Gongora1

1 InfoLab21, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
2 Talis, Birmingham, UK

Paper at DESIRE'11, October 19-21, 2011, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

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External representations are ubiquitous in design from blue-foam models, to formal requirements documents. This paper seeks to explicate the role of externalisation in the light of literature in philosophy, psychology, and design practice. The apparent conflict between theories of embodiment, which emphasises tacit action, and the ideal of reflective practice is resolved in a rich interplay between tacit and explicit knowledge and reasoning. By understanding the kinds of external representation in design their properties, and functions, we are able to make sense of tools and techniques for reflection and creativity and we hope ultimately improve them and design itself.

Keywords: design, embodiment, reflective practice, external representation








Alan Dix 28/9/2011