Designing with LEGO: Exploring the influence of low fidelity visualisation on collaborative design activities

DS 87-8 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 8: Human Behaviour in Design, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Ranscombe, Charlie; Bissett-Johnson, Katherine; Boa, Duncan; Hicks, Ben
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Swinburne University of Technology, Australia; 2: University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Section: Human Behaviour in Design
Page(s): 269-278
ISBN: 978-1-904670-96-4
ISSN: 2220-4342


Sketches, cardboard mock-ups, and digital modelling software are typical media at a designer’s disposal for visualising and evaluating ideas. Recent research indicates the benefits of using such media with a limited level of detail (low fidelity) when representing designer’s concepts. Similarly LEGO has gained traction as a visualisation media in co-design and strategy building contexts, where its low fidelity is key to communication across different disciplines. The research in this paper compares LEGO with traditional visualisation media (sketching, cardboard mock-ups and CAD) to understand its influence on collaboration . An experiment was conducted where teams of industrial designers were given a short design task for which to develop solutions using different visualisation media. Results from the study showed that teams using lower fidelity visualisation engaged in more collaborative behaviour than those using traditional media and generated more ideas. This suggests that there are benefits to constraining the level of detail in visualisation media for concept generation during early stages of design process.

Keywords: Design practice, Collaborative design, Industrial design, LEGO, Visualisation media


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