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Chapter 18: Supporting Design Thinking with Evocative Digital Diagrams - Pg. 319

319 Supporting Design Thinking with Evocative Digital Diagrams Christiane M. Herr Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China Chapter 18 ABSTRACT This chapter presents a digitally supported approach to creative thinking through diagrammatic visuals. Diagrammatic visuals can support designing by evoking thoughts and by raising open questions in con- versational exchanges with designers. It focuses on the educational context of the architectural design studio, and introduces a software tool, named Algogram, which allows designers to employ diagrams in challenging conventional assumptions and for generating new ideas. Results from testing the tool and the way of approaching conceptual designing encouraged by it within an undergraduate design studio suggest a potential for refocusing of attention in digital design support development towards diagrams. In addition to the conventional emphasis on the variety of tool features and the ability of the tool to assist representational modeling of form, this chapter shows how a diagram-based approach can acknowledge and harness the creative potential of designers' constructive seeing. INTRODUCTION Designerly thinking manifests itself in a variety of modes of approaching design tasks, among them reasoning, intuition, commonsense, art, sci- ence, drawing, problem-solving and experience. Designerly thinking tends to explore what works within a particular context and is less concerned with formal criteria as they apply to other fields of study. In this way, designers can handle, and even seek, paradox, ignorance, ambiguity and even DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-180-1.ch018 destruction just as they can handle and seek clarity, explicit knowledge, logic and formal rigour. This chapter aims to chart a new direction in what Sh- neiderman (2000) describes as "inspirationalist" approach to supporting creativity. This approach encourages creativity through strategies encour- aging free association, play, divergence or lateral thinking in order to offer new ways of perceiving design tasks (DeBono 1973). Creativity support developed from this perspective often employs visual techniques which can assist in reimagin- ing that which is presented. Goldschmidt (2003) has suggested that sketching aids designers in Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.