AN EXAMINATION OF THE BENEFITS AND DEFICITS OF DESIGN FIXATION IN ENGINEERING DESIGN

Open Access
Author:
Zeng, Wendy
Area of Honors:
Industrial Engineering
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Scarlett Rae Miller, Thesis Supervisor
  • Catherine Mary Harmonosky, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • product dissection
  • design fixation
  • design by analogy
  • eye tracking
Abstract:
Design fixation is often thought of only as a limiting factor when a designer is generating ideas, but design fixation is also defined as "sometimes counter-productive" indicating that there may be room for good fixation. In addition, design fixation is defined as a "blind adherence", meaning that the designer is not aware that they are limiting their idea set. Prior work in fixation has focused on how introducing designers to bad examples can cause a negative adherence to a limited set of ideas, while work in design by analogy has focused on how introducing a designer to the right idea can positively impact the creative output of idea generation. In addition, product dissection has been investigated as a way to inspire creative design with positive results. While researchers have investigated good examples for their positive impact on the creativity of generated ideas, little work has investigated how these good examples are having a positive impact. Therefore, this study aimed to understand how exposing designers to analogically near and far products that are relatively simple or complex through a product dissection activity impacts a designer's creativity and how designers are reusing parts in their ideation. In addition, this study investigated if these reuses are unconscious through the use of eye tracking equipment as well as examined what designers look at during product dissection. The results showed that reuse of parts was positively related to an individual's creativity during idea generation and that student designers reused more after dissecting an analogically near product. In addition, they showed that there was no relationship between eye fixations and design fixation, indicating that reuse might not be unconscious. Overall, the results shed a positive light on reuse and design fixation.