Guiding Principles for Design Tools

Principles for the creation of open-ended design tools

  1. A tool should be easy to use, meeting the user at his or her point-of-view rather than requiring the user to gain expertise about the tool itself.

  2. A tool should be open-ended, allowing any possible output.

  3. A tool should make the user’s iterative process visible and navigable.

  4. A tool should expand rather than limit or corral the user’s thinking.

  5. A tool should help the user to develop an intuition for the problem space, its inherent constraints and the relationships between properties.

  6. A tool should help the user to break the problem down and work through its components while keeping the whole in mind.

  7. A tool should be adaptable to the user, capable of being transformed by its own design process.