Usability tests of ideation flexibility tools with engineering design practitioners

Seda McKilligan, Kathryn W. Jablokow, Shanna R. Daly, Eli M. Silk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In an engineering context, ideation flexibility is defined as an engineer’s ability to move between his or her preferred and non-preferred ways of generating ideas as required by the current task. In this study, the usability of three specific tools for enhancing the ideation flexibility of engineers—the Problem Framing Guide, Design Heuristics and Cognitive Style-Based Teaming—was investigated with design practitioners in a real-world setting. The performance and perceptions of 16 professionals were analysed as they explored design problems and solutions using these tools in a 3-h workshop. Study outcomes show that all three tools have value in design ideation, with room for improvement in terms of structured instructions for their use. Additionally, results suggest that cognitive style does not influence an individual’s performance with or perceptions of these tools, which supports their value and validity for a general practitioner audience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-313
Number of pages21
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'Usability tests of ideation flexibility tools with engineering design practitioners'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this