Designing over Networks: a review and example of using internet collaboration and communication tools in design

PA Rodgers*, AP Huxor

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    Design has been described as one of the most demanding tasks faced by human beings, and also as an activity which frequently involves specialists from many areas, such as business, management, manufacturing, and marketing (Coyne et al., 1990). A characteristic of contemporary design practice is the high number of trade-offs and decisions that have to be made between one specialist and another during the design process.

    Recent social, market, and technological developments have led to fundamental changes in the activity of design, including the way these multidisciplinary design teams now function. These changes have been brought about as a result of many factors, including the increase in the life expectancy of the population, the limited economic life of many products, the pressures on designers and manufacturers to reduce the development time for products, the need to improve product quality, and last but not least the need for improved communication between designers, engineers, manufacturers, and other relevant parties. A particular issue is the emergence of the virtual design team (Line and Syvertsen, 1990) brought together to exploit market opportunities quickly and flexibly.

    Recent advances in communication technologies which strive to support 'better' collaborative design work aim to improve the chances of successful new product design and development by facilitating more effective and efficient collaboration between members of design teams. Many Internet collaboration and communication tools now exist to support designers including shared product data storage, audio and video conferencing, real-time chat, threaded discussion lists, and so on.

    This paper will review and compare the current state of Internet collaboration and communication tools for design and describe, by working through a design example, how these tools might be used to facilitate greater success in design practice. The example will show how a number of product design specification (PDS) elements (Pugh, 1991) can be taken into account within this collaborative approach. That is, how the collaboration and communication tools can aid designers work through issues commonly addressed throughout the design process, such as human factors issues, manufacturing and production issues, logistical issues, environmental issues, and so on.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMANAGING NEW PRODUCT INNOVATION
    EditorsB Jerrard, M Trueman, R Newport
    PublisherTaylor & Francis
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Print)0-7484-0859-2
    Publication statusPublished - 1998
    EventDesign-Research-Society Conference on Quantum Leap: Managing New Product Innovation - BIRMINGHAM
    Duration: 8 Sept 199810 Sept 1998


    ConferenceDesign-Research-Society Conference on Quantum Leap: Managing New Product Innovation


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