The Effect of Design Expertise on Solving Different Problems: An Exploratory Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Islamic Art University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.

2 Design Quintessence, Sydney, Australia


Abstract: This paper presents empirical evidence of the designers’ cognitive activities while solving different problems. We hypothesise that learning design problem solving also affects the way students tackle non-design problems. Eight senior students from industrial design major and eight senior students from other (non-design) majors were recruited. Sixteen protocols were recorded and analysed in total with each protocol involving two subjects working as a team. Each group was asked to solve two problems: a design problem and a non-design problem. The design problem was chosen to fully correspond to the characteristics of a classic design problem and the non-design problem was chosen to miss a few aspects of design and, hence, become less designerly. The Protocols were, then, processed using FBS-based coding scheme. The cumulative distribution of the FBS codes across the protocols along with the problem-solution (P/S) index was used to analyse and compare the cohorts. The results of this study indicated that the protocols from solving a design problem have a higher variation of the P/S index. Furthermore, the study found similarities in the strategies used by designers to solve design and non-design problems.


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