Against ambiguity

De Montfort University Open Research Archive

Show simple item record Stacey, Martin Eckert, Claudia 2010-06-10T11:31:05Z 2010-06-10T11:31:05Z 2003-06-01
dc.identifier.citation Stacey, M.K. and Eckert, C.M. (2003) Against ambiguity. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 12 (2), pp. 153-183. en
dc.identifier.issn 0925-9724
dc.description Design and Innovation, Open University; Engineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge en
dc.description The file attached to this record is the authors final peer reviewed version of the article. The original publication is available at
dc.description.abstract This paper argues that the widespread belief that ambiguity is beneficial in design communication stems from conceptual confusion. Communicating imprecise, uncertain and provisional ideas is a vital part of design teamwork, but what is uncertain and provisional needs to be expressed as clearly as possible. Understanding what uncertainty information designers can and should communicate, and how, is an urgent task for research. Viewing design communication as conveying permitted spaces for further designing is a useful rationalisation for understanding what designers need from their notations and computer tools, to achieve clear communication of uncertain ideas. The paper presents a typology of ways that designs can be uncertain. It discusses how sketches and other representations of designs can be both intrinsically ambiguous, and ambiguous or misleading by failing to convey information about uncertainty and provisionality, with reference to knitwear design, where communication using inadequate representations causes severe problems. It concludes that systematic use of meta-notations for conveying provisionality and uncertainty can reduce these problems. en
dc.description.sponsorship EPSRC, ESRC Cognitive Engineering Initiative, Open University Research Fund en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Springer en
dc.subject collaborative design en
dc.subject design communication en
dc.subject sketching en
dc.subject meta-notation en
dc.subject knowledge level en
dc.subject knitwear en
dc.title Against ambiguity en
dc.type Article en
dc.peerreviewed Yes en

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