A Constraint-Based Understanding of Design Spaces

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper suggests a framework for understanding and manoeuvring design spaces based on insights from research into creativity constraints. We define the design space as a conceptual space, which in addition to being co-constituted, explored and developed by the designer encompasses the creativity constraints governing the design process. While design spaces can be highly complex, our constraint-based understanding enables us to argue for the benefits of a systematic approach to mapping and manipulating aspects of the design space. We discuss how designers by means of a simple representation, a design space schema, can identify the properties of the prospective product that s/he can form. Through a case study, we show how design space schemas can support designers in various ways, including gaining an overview of the design process, documenting it, reflecting on it, and developing design concepts. Finally, we discuss the potentials and limitations of this approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of DIS (Designing Interactive Systems) 2014
Number of pages10
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date20 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2014
EventDesigning Interactive Systems - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 21 Jun 201425 Jun 2014
Conference number: 14


ConferenceDesigning Interactive Systems


  • creativity constraints
  • design processes
  • design space
  • problem space
  • solution space


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