Design & Determined Indeterminism

Chulalongkorn University
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the Design Research Society 2012: Bangkok, 2012, pp. 405 - 415
Issue Date:
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The world is filled with artefacts/products, systems, and environments. We consider these to be made by humans who determine their subsequent use as suggested by their embedded characteristics. Often these artefacts are the result of a design process. That is to say, they are developed by designers through some considered design process. This holds true for Product designers, Architects or Engineers. When developing their artefacts, these designers make many varied design decisions. In essence these designers determine the nature and characteristics of the artefact. These may include both functional and non-functional issues. These design decisions are sometimes related to each other in a determined way ['cause-effect relationship'], and sometimes they relate to each other in unexpected or non-determined ways [uncertainty]. Nevertheless, these design decisions demonstrate intent on the part of the designer. The intent may not be consistent with actual subsequent use of the artefact. This mismatch or more importantly an endeavour to move towards an absence of mismatch between intent and actuality, often affects the perceived 'value' of the artefact. The proposition is that designers propose predetermined rituals of use, and certainly notions of value when developing the embodiment of an artefact. In doing so they make many assumptions which may or may not be consistent with the perceptions of the user and indeed the actual rituals once the artefact is utilised, therefore for every aspect of the artefact the designer determines there are a number of issues in need of resolution arising as a direct result of their determination there is a concomitant indeterminism. Drawing upon literature found in both Science and Design, this paper discusses the nature of the struggle [contradiction] between issues of determinism and non-determinism in design, suggesting some strategies for closing this gap during the design process.
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