Investigating engineering students' consideration of people during concept generation
Laura R. Murphy, Shanna R. Daly, Nina Makhlouf, Eytan Adar, Sophia Brueckner, Colleen M. Seifert

Does the act of representing people in sketches change the way students consider people in design? We asked five senior-level mechanical engineering students to generate concepts for a design problem. As students generated concepts, they used a think-aloud protocol to talk through their design processes. In the first session, students generated ideas according to their natural concept generation style. In a second session, we asked them to include representations of "people, a person, or parts of a person" in their sketches while generating concepts. We identified five aspects of these representations in sketches: multiple users, body depictions, physical integration, emotional expressions, and communication. In transcriptions of the thinkaloud process, we analyzed the level of generality and word choice when students talked about people in their designs. Our findings indicate that students showed multiple signs of thinking more deeply about their potential users and the users' context when using representations of people in their designs. Asking students to represent people in sketches may serve as a simple intervention that instructors can implement to help students think about people when stakeholders are not present during human-centered design.

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Murphy, L. R., & Daly, S. R., & Makhlouf, T., & Adar, E., & Brueckner, S., & Seifert, C. M. (2021, July), Investigating Engineering Students' Consideration of People During Concept Generation Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.