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Design tool: a software for capturing design intent
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The central purpose of design is to create products that satisfy societal needs within specified constraints. This is a daunting task that involves making a large number of design decisions usually with insufficient information. This results in the design process being iterative with certain decisions being made, the result evaluated, and the product being redesigned. The current project will explore similarities in design reasoning carried out in various areas and aims at developing evidence for successful patterns of design reasoning that involve the exploration of alternatives, evaluation of the various alternatives keeping in mind the required functionality, documentation of intended function and design rationale. I hope to create clear evidence of standard and effective patterns of design reasoning that can be used as a basis for future work in this direction. A structured way of recording design reasoning enables a continuous feedback from the designer at all stages of the design rather than at the very end. This also allows us to catch and eliminate problems at the highest level of hierarchy so that they are eliminated in the earliest stage possible. The notion of a concurrent hierarchical design (CHD) process in which each level of hierarchy is considered to be a design milestone with increasing information content is used. This results in the development of good design practices that integrate principles of mechanics into the embodiment and detail design stage so that the number of design iterations needed to fix design problems are reduced. The present research will develop a working prototype software that enables data collection and, at the same time, ants as an example software implementation. The project also furthers standardization of the design process that can lead to the development of new tools in this area. A software tool is developed for this purpose. It is basically created as a collection of Visual Basic forms with Excel worksheets and Word documents embedded in them. Each form is associated with some code which links it to other forms in the interface and also does the functions within that form. Every form in the interface is equivalent to a level in the design hierarchy. All the functional alternatives are arranged vertically in each sheet and all the alternatives based on the embodiment are arranged horizontally. There are two modes namely display mode and edit mode. In the display mode the user can only navigate through the various levels. It is not possible to edit the forms in the display mode. One needs to enter the edit mode to be able to do so. One can even create a new level in the edit mode. The interface is expected to be very user friendly and the navigation self-explanatory.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 39).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Velamakanni, Ravindra (1999). Design tool: a software for capturing design intent. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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