Design by analogy is a noted approach for conceptual design. This paper seeks to develop a robust design-by-analogy method. This endeavor is sought through a series of three experiments focusing on understanding the influence of representation on the design-by-analogy process. The first two experiments evaluate the effects of analogous product description—presented in either domain-general or domain-specific language—on a designer’s ability to later use the product to solve a novel design problem. Six different design problems with corresponding analogous products are evaluated. The third experiment in the series uses a factorial design to explore the effects of the representation (domain specific or general sentinel descriptions) for both the design problem and the analogous product on the designer’s ability to develop solutions to novel design problems. Results show that a more general representation of the analogous products facilitates later use for a novel design problem. The highest rates of success occur when design problems are presented in domain specific representations and the analogous product is in a domain general representation. Other insights for the development of design by analogy methods and tools are also discussed.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.