Opening the black box: Developing metrics to assess the cognitive processes of prototyping

Jacob Nelson, Jessica Menold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


While past work has demonstrated the ability of prototypes to boost design project performance, influence stakeholder buy-in, and improve design team communication, prototyping remains a ‘black-box’ process. The specific mechanisms through which prototypes affect designer cognition remains unknown. To date, there has been little work to operationalize theory and enable the fine-grain measurement of cognitive processes during prototyping tasks. In short, there is a lack of appropriate metrics to establish the intangible value of prototyping tasks via the measurement of the knowledge generated. The purpose of this work is to propose metrics that more holistically assess the value of prototypes. The proposed metrics are implemented in a design project to validate their utility in studying prototyping tendencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100964
JournalDesign Studies
StatePublished - Sep 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Engineering
  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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