How Do Designers Think?


How Do Designers Think?

“How Did They Design This?” is a book about what they did. A team of smart engineers designed the new engine for NASA. Who designed the cover of the book?

In fact, the answer is “almost everyone.” Consider that NASA is constantly seeking better ways to do its work. The new “gee guy” (gee – you can hear the laughter) designed the software used in the “gee scan” to measure the interior pressure and temperatures inside the space vehicles. The interior pressure and temperatures were measured at various times while the vehicles were flying, and the software produced a rational model of the interior environment.

Then there are the “designers” who designed the software and the hardware, and the astronauts who actually use the systems. If it worked, the software was tested by hundreds of professionals who specialize in this field. If it didn’t work, then it was redesigned. For this team, all the designers, managers, scientists, engineers and astronauts had to be “designers” – that is, they all had to agree on a set of designing activities in order to say that a model or simulation was rational.

A little farther down the design process is the testing of the activities. Here, again, all the designers, managers, scientists and engineers have to be designers. There are three levels of testing. The first level is simply a case study. In this case, the designer might be asked to design a problem solving activity, a graphical display, or even a report, just to name a few examples.

The next level involves designing the rational model and then having a group of people to test it. The goal of this test is to show whether or not the activity can be designed properly. Then the designers test the performance of the activity. When the designers to finish testing the activity, and they find that it performs poorly, they might throw it away or redesign it based on the new testing results.

When a group of designers to complete the entire design process, they will have created a rational model for solving a problem-solving problem. They completed an entire problem-solving activity within a short period of time, showing that their thinking is good, and the visual arts are well under control. Now the designers can show that this same group of people can solve problems in the applied arts. It’s not as difficult as it sounds.