PEDGLEY, O., 1997. Towards a method for documenting industrial design activity from the designer’s perspective. IDATER 1997 Conference, Loughborough University.
Design researchers have recorded design activity most often on a microscopic level, enabling
some conclusions on the structure of design processes to be reached through analysing trains
of thought. An alternative, rarely attempted, is to undertake a macroscopic study of designing
on a focused topic. A macroscopic study will aim to reveal designers’ approaches to their
work and the kinds of resources they use in relation to that topic. For such a study it is stressed
that a designer needs to be involved in a long-term ‘live’ design project.
This paper argues that a diary written by the designer, either during or at some point after
designing, is valuable to researchers studying designing on a macroscopic level. The two key
reasons for using a diary are (a) only designers themselves can describe the thinking that
accompanies their designing and (b) accounts can be written chronologically and in direct
relation to the development of a particular product.
The merits of both concurrent and end-of-the-day diaries are discussed in relation to some