• Johannes Birkedal Hoseth
4. term, Engineering Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
For the present thesis project I attempt to highlight a growing problem of novice designers with no knowledge of usability partaking in, or even being responsible of, design projects. I argue that a viable approach towards addressing this problem is to help make knowledge of cognitive science and user cognition more understandable and applicable to novice designers through heuristics, i.e. design guidelines. In particular, using a meta-theoretical framework called Dual Process Theory (DPT), which makes an overall distinction between two types of cognitive processes, I see potential in framing the heuristics through the ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ thinking metaphor of DPT. This leads to the Problem Statement of the thesis project: “In which ways can Dual Process Theory operationalise as a framing heuristic for user cognition amongst novice designers, during concept creation and evaluation?”.

I attempt to approach this Problem Statement by first (1) conducting a theoretical exploration of the (i) key (ii) cognitive process that (i) Dual Process Theory (DPT) can help communicate. This was done with (iv) a preceding conceptual analysis of DPT as a meta-theoretical framework.
From that (2) I opted to explore design-research pertaining information of how to go about designing a set of heuristics for helping novice designers design with usability in mind. These heuristics try to communicate easily understandable and applicable knowledge about user cognition and give general, sound advise based on that knowledge. I subsequently (3) went through a creative process towards the development of a prototype of the heuristics. I (4) tested the prototype of the heuristics with a validity check, concerning how they communicate cognitive science research, through DPT, in a scientifically valid manner. Proceeding from there, I (5) gained expert practitioners input on applying the heuristics through a focus group. From the insights of this, (6) I created my final research design for a Main Study with seven novice designer participants. They were all individually interviewed for their experience applying the heuristics in an Activity that enacted as a case context.
Dual Process Theory was found found show great promise as a framing heuristic of user cognition by providing (a) a unified, general understanding of user cognition and cognitive science. By applying the fast and slow thinking metaphor DPT can provide a reductionist language that enables novice designers to more easily express, or put into words, knowledge of user cognition. It provides a lens to see specific information about user cognition through.
Lastly, the DPT-framed set of heuristics, or guidelines, conveying user cognition knowledge were found to mainly enact as either a (b) framework for concept ‘creation’, helping novice designers avoid cognitive fixation during the ideation process. Or, the heuristics could have the opposite effect, (c) disrupting an otherwise existing flow of ideation. For concept ‘evaluation’ the novice designer participants universally found great value in adopting the heuristics as a ‘checklist’. This helped the participants with a difficulty typical of novice designers, which is the lacking ability to conduct preliminary evaluations of concepts, based on criteria outside of personal preferences.
Publication date18 Jun 2021
Number of pages133
External collaboratorDesign-People
no name vbn@aub.aau.dk
ID: 415094622