A domain-independent descriptive design model and its application to structured reflection on design processes

Isabelle Reymen, D.K. Hammer, P.A. Kroes, Joan Ernst van Aken, J.E. van Aken, C.H. Dorst, M.F.T. Bax, T Basten

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Domain-independent models of the design process are an important means for facilitating interdisciplinary communication and for supporting multidisciplinary design. Many so-called domain-independent models are, however, not really domain independent. We state that to be domain independent, the models must abstract from domain-specific aspects, be based on the study of several design disciplines, and be useful for many design disciplines and for multidisciplinary design teams. This paper presents a domain-independent descriptive design model that is developed by studying similarities and differences between design processes in three design disciplines and which is based on the general theory of state-transition systems. The main concepts of the descriptive model are a design situation and a design activity. The descriptive model is applied in a domain-independent prescriptive model that supports designers with structured reflection on a design process; reflection provides an important possibility in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of design processes.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)147-173
JournalResearch in engineering design
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Design situation - Design activity - State-transition system - Prescriptive model - Reflection process - Design session
  • IR-58074
  • METIS-206392

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