Do word graphs stimulate design?

N.M. Segers, B. Vries, de, H.H. Achten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


In the early phase of the architectural design process the architect makes his ideas explicit in the design draft by means of a variety of representations such as sketches, marks, images, and annotations. So far, annotations have not seen much research attention, although they do reveal part of the design content. In this article we study the effects of offering feedback to annotations, namely by presenting word graphs that contain the architect’s annotations and semantic associations based on these words. Our aim is to investigate whether the feedback in word graphs can stimulate design. The research method entails a working prototype, called the Idea Space System (ISS), in an experimental setting in which 18 architects participated. ISS searches for semantic relations between single words (annotations) and for intermediary words. The findings of the experiment show that architects appreciate the use of word graphs. They experience pleasure, an improvement of the workflow, and especially get more associations while using the ISS with feedback in word graphs. Nevertheless, we cannot find a significant increased creativity of the resulting designs, or a significant reduction of fixation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-627
JournalDesign Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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