Design Prototypes: A Knowledge Representation Schema for Design

John S. Gero


A prevalent and pervasive view of designing is that it can be modeled using variables and decisions made about what values should be taken by these variables. The activity of designing is carried out with the expectation that the designed artifact will operate in the natural world and the social world. These worlds impose constraints on the variables and their values; so, design could be described as a goal-oriented, constrained, decision- making activity. However, design distinguish- es itself from other similarly described activities not only by its domain but also by additional necessary features. Designing involves exploration, exploring what variables might be appropriate. The process of explo- ration involves both goal variables and deci- sion variables. In addition, designing involves learning: Part of the exploration activity is learning about emerging features as a design proceeds. Finally, design activity occurs within two contexts: the context within which the designer operates and the context produced by the developing design itself. The designer’s perception of what the context is affects the implication of the context on the design. The context shifts as the designer’s perceptions change. Design activity can be now characterized as a goal-oriented, con- strained, decision-making, exploration, and learning activity that operates within a con- text that depends on the designer’s percep- tion of the context.


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@Annual Review of Policy Design ISSN: ISSN 2291-6989