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An Investigation On Design Effectiveness And Efficiency Of Teams Equipped With Design Information Support Tool (Dist)

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Student Teams and Design Skills

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.205.1 - 11.205.15



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Paper Authors


Gül Okudan Pennsylvania State University

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Gül E. Okudan is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Design at The Pennsylvania State
University. She received her Ph.D. from University of Missouri-Rolla. Her research interests include intelligent shop floor control, manufacturing strategy modeling and measurement, solid modeling, product design, and product design teams. Her published work appears in journals such as Journal of Engineering Design, Design Studies, Journal of Engineering Education, European Journal of Engineering Education and Technovation. She is a member of ASEE and ASME. She is also a National Research Council-US AFRL Summer Faculty Fellow of the Human Effectiveness Directorate for 2002, 2003 and 2004.

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Madara Ogot Pennsylvania State University

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Madara Ogot is an Associate Professor in Engineering Design and Mechanical Engineering at
The Pennsylvania State University. He is the co-author, along with Gül Okudan of an introductory engineering design text, Engineering Design: A Practical Guide. His current research interests include design under uncertainty, stochastic optimization and innovative design. He received his BSE from Princeton in 1987, and his MS and Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 1989 and 1991, respectively.

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Girish Rao SPRINT

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Girish Rao has graduated from Penn State's Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department with M.S. in 2005. He is currently working as a development engineer for Sprint.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Investigation on Design Effectiveness and Efficiency of Teams Equipped with a Design Information Support Tool (Dist)


In this work, it is hypothesized that by providing novice designers with a decision support tool (software), that can (i) take the designer’s input, (ii) simplify design decision-making by automatically generating critical values in place of tedious hand calculations, and (iii) ensure consistency in integration of critical information, etc., designer error will be minimized as well as mental load and time demands on the designer reduced. This set of hypotheses is proven by way of studying the design outcomes of novice designers in a designed experiment.

The experiment is conducted in two stages: (1) conceptual design with no design information software, and (2) conceptual design with design information software. The first phase is used to document the potential designer errors as well as mental load and time demands when a design information software is not used. During the second phase, the performance of eight design teams equipped with the design information software is compared to that of a control group, which was not provided with the software. The results indicate a reduction in the number of information integration errors, the time needed for data analysis and the perceived workload of the designer. These results have implications for the engineering education classroom where design is an integral part of the curriculum.

1. Introduction

The design process is a complex information intensive activity requiring the designer to coordinate and integrate a large amount of information from different sources, formats, media and locations to arrive at a solution for a given design problem. With increasing globalization of products and services, engineering design firms have been forced to improve the productivity of their practices. To date, while advances in technology have been used in support of increasing productivity in latter stages of design (e.g., increased computing power in computer-aided design and engineering (CAD and CAE)), the efforts focusing on the initial stages have been limited1. Among the primary reasons are: (1) a lack of understanding of how design is done, and (2) an inadequate consideration of cognitive burdens due to the information rich design environment.

While there is consensus on a prescriptive definition of the design process, empirical studies of design have shown departures from the prescriptive process2. Further, currently available design systems have various drawbacks because they are developed without an understanding of the design process and hence they are limited in their effectiveness1. In addition, the designers of technological systems to support design activities do not adequately address the cognitive and human factors of their systems3. One of the important concerns regarding cognitive and human factors is the diversity of design information generated and utilized during the design process, which imposes considerable burden on the designer4.

These inhibiting factors for computer-based tool development in support of initial design stages, and their consequences, have several implications for design productivity. Among these are:

Okudan, G., & Ogot, M., & Rao, G. (2006, June), An Investigation On Design Effectiveness And Efficiency Of Teams Equipped With Design Information Support Tool (Dist) Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--908

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