Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

An Evaluation Methodology for Design Concept Communication Using Digital Prototypes

[+] Author and Article Information
Soheil Arastehfar

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
9 Engineering Drive 1,
Singapore 117575
e-mail: soheil@u.nus.edu

Ying Liu

Institute of Mechanical
and Manufacturing Engineering,
School of Engineering,
Cardiff University,
Cardiff CF24 3AA, UK
e-mail: Liuy81@cardiff.ac.uk

Wen Feng Lu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
9 Engineering Drive 1,
Singapore 117575
e-mail: mpelwf@nus.edu.sg

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received April 28, 2015; final manuscript received December 15, 2015; published online February 1, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Kristina Shea.

J. Mech. Des 138(3), 031103 (Feb 01, 2016) (9 pages) Paper No: MD-15-1330; doi: 10.1115/1.4032396 History: Received April 28, 2015; Revised December 15, 2015

Digital prototypes (DPs) allow designers to communicate design concepts to users by rendering physical characteristics of the concepts. To enhance user understanding of the concepts, it is important that the users be able to make better estimates of the values of the characteristics. Correctness of the estimates can depend on two crucial factors: the ability of DPs to render the physical characteristics and the way the DPs are used to communicate the physical characteristics. However, little attention has been paid to the latter. A DP can be used in different ways, e.g., it can be projected on different backgrounds, or be manipulated using different input/output devices. Hence, it is important to identify an effective way of using DPs, via an assessment of the effectiveness of various ways. This paper introduces a methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of communication of physical characteristics to users using DPs. The methodology is used to assess the degree to which users can correctly and quickly estimate the values of the characteristics through interactions with DPs. Such assessments are then analyzed with statistical methods and hypothesis tests to reveal the effectiveness. To validate the proposed methodology, the size of hand-held electronic consumer products, such as smartphones, is considered in a case study. In the study, the effectiveness of two communication setups is evaluated. The same DP is used in both setups, while the environments and input devices are different. The experimental results show that the evaluated effectiveness can reflect how successful the setups are, and can help select the best way of using the DP, i.e., by providing a better environment, a better input device, or a combination of both.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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Fig. 2

An example of evaluation of communication of color by using the methodology

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Fig. 3

An example of V for color, (a) values and (b) their d

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Fig. 4

How to enhance DP vs. how to use DP

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Fig. 5

The graphical illustration of Tr

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Fig. 6

The timing of the experiment

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Fig. 7

Screenshots of user–DP interactions in COM-M

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Fig. 8

The effectiveness, (a) COM-V and (b) COM-M



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