Towards Better Design Teams: Designers' Information Sharing Behavior and Tool Use

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lora Oehlberg instructs a group of students working as design teams.Join the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) on Friday, February 24, for a guest lecture by Lora Oehlberg.

Title: "Towards Better Design Teams: Designers' Information Sharing Behavior and Tool Use"
Speaker: Lora Oehlberg, PhD Candidate, University of California, Berkeley
Date: Friday, February 24, 2012
Time: 10:30-11:30 AM
Location: Electrical Engineering Building, Room 403, UW Seattle campus

Abstract
Developing innovative products and services benefits from collaboration within multidisciplinary design teams. Design teams gather and generate large quantities of information, including user research, information about competing products and applicable technologies, and new design ideas; however, teams often struggle to synthesize this diverse design information. Collaboration can break down if they cannot form a shared understanding of the design problem. My work examines current design practices to construct theoretical models of the design process and to develop new tools to help design teams create, communicate, and collaborate.

In this talk, I will explore how individual information tools are used to support collaborative design processes, and suggest forms for future tools. I will present a series of qualitative research studies, including interviews of individual designers and observations of face-to-face team meetings, that characterize how design teams operate in practice. These studies informed a series of conceptual frameworks that describe information sharing throughout individual and collaborative design tasks. I will also describe the development of Dazzle, an information sharing tool for face-to-face design teams that allows teammates to share, log, and annotate their shared design resources. Finally, I will explore the implications for future design tools, and discuss how we can improve creative practice by strengthening collaborative discussion and shared understanding.

About the speaker
Lora Oehlberg is a PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on design theory and methodology, and frequently extends into human-computer interaction and engineering design education. She has worked in product design and development at Apple Inc., Squid Labs, and Autodesk. She has been recognized for her teaching at UC Berkeley with an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award (2009) and a Teaching Effectiveness Award (2010). She is a member of the Berkeley Institute of Design and a former editor-in-chief of Ambidextrous Magazine. She has an MS from UC Berkeley and a BS from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering.