Publications of Catherine Elsen
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See detailHow much time does it take for "experience design" to unfold?
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

in Benz, Peter (Ed.) Designing Experiences: Positions and Approaches. (2014)

This paper specifically focuses on one aspect of the experience design process, sometimes even stressed as one if its shortcomings: the time it takes to properly gain insights about possible real-life ... [more ▼]

This paper specifically focuses on one aspect of the experience design process, sometimes even stressed as one if its shortcomings: the time it takes to properly gain insights about possible real-life experiences of proximal or distal end-users. In the process of making sense of sometimes conflicting viewpoints found in the literature about timing and its possible impact on design processes and outcomes, this paper compares four distinct settings and addresses the following research questions: • How “time-framing” the design process possibly filters (positively or negatively) the awareness designers have about end-users; • How the experimental protocols, their inherent limitations and artificialities, do shape the designers’ involvement in the process of designing for an end-user’s experience. Results put techniques for «disciplined creativity», such as brainstorming or analogies, front-to-front with more reflective approaches that unfold over more time, and discuss respective but complementary added values of both. [less ▲]

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See detailLes Fab labs: espaces créatifs d'aujourd'hui au service du prototypage rapide de demain
Elsen, Catherine ULg

Article for general public (2013)

Tout comme les débuts de l'internet "pour tous" ont été marqués par l'éclosion de cyber-cafés, l'ère de la fabrication digitale "à la maison" sera, dans un premier temps, facilitée par les Fab labs, lieux ... [more ▼]

Tout comme les débuts de l'internet "pour tous" ont été marqués par l'éclosion de cyber-cafés, l'ère de la fabrication digitale "à la maison" sera, dans un premier temps, facilitée par les Fab labs, lieux d'échanges et de mise en commun d'outils et d'expertises. [less ▲]

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See detailLa graphique de l'intention: Transfert et appropriation d'intentions graphiques en collaboration.
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Darses, Françoise; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

in Interfaces Numériques (2013), 2(2), 489-508

Cet article traite de la passation graphique d'une intention et révèle, par l'intermédiaire d'expérimentations ciblées, quels composants graphiques soutiennent particulièrement bien ou mal cette passation ... [more ▼]

Cet article traite de la passation graphique d'une intention et révèle, par l'intermédiaire d'expérimentations ciblées, quels composants graphiques soutiennent particulièrement bien ou mal cette passation. Les résultats suggèrent d'apporter une attention toute particulière, que l'on soit concepteur-collaborateur ou développeur d'interfaces de soutien à la collaboration distante, aux courbes dites "principales". Celles-ci semblent effectivement être garantes d'une intention graphique potentiellement mieux transmise et mieux capturée - l'essence graphique d'une collaboration distante efficace. [less ▲]

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See detailWorkshops as tools for creative collaboration: finding a balance between facilitation and auto-organization
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Cornet, Adeline; Antoine, Mélanie

in Proceedings of Co-Create 2013 (2013)

This paper analyses four settings of so-called collaborative “creative workshops” (their methods, logistics, regulation processes) and provide peepholes on their respective features, with the informed ... [more ▼]

This paper analyses four settings of so-called collaborative “creative workshops” (their methods, logistics, regulation processes) and provide peepholes on their respective features, with the informed goals of defining criteria for comparison, finding shared essence and distinctive characteristics. Key aspects such as time, facilitation and auto-organization shape a “creative continuum” that formalizes how creativity can be stimulated and how participants might collaboratively develop creative behaviors. [less ▲]

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See detailLe "Design Thinking" ou comment décomplex(ifi)er l'accès à la créativité et augmenter votre efficacité
Elsen, Catherine ULg

Conference given outside the academic context (2012)

La pensée créative est à l’innovation ce que les méthodes sont à la recherche scientifique: une base essentielle. Longtemps associés à une certaine part de mystère, les mécanismes intrinsèques de la ... [more ▼]

La pensée créative est à l’innovation ce que les méthodes sont à la recherche scientifique: une base essentielle. Longtemps associés à une certaine part de mystère, les mécanismes intrinsèques de la créativité sont aujourd’hui peu à peu décryptés par les communautés de chercheurs actifs en ingénierie de la conception, en sciences sociales ou en psychologie. Un consensus semble se dégager quant à l’étendue de son application: la véritable valeur ajoutée de la créativité apparaît lorsqu’elle est appliquée, telle une culture d’entreprise, à toutes les strates d’un projet et lorsqu’elle est mise en oeuvre, sans distinction, par tout un chacun. Forts de ce constat, des entrepreneurs et inventeurs tels que David Kelley (fondateur d’IDEO, directeur de la d.school, Université de Stanford) ou Tim Brown (CEO actuel d’IDEO) ont activement développé une approche appelée le "Design Thinking". Celle-ci vise à démystifier et «décomplex(ifi)er» certains procédés favorisant la créativité et ainsi parvenir à décomplexer les acteurs généralement considérés comme «non créatifs». L’intervention abordera, au travers d’une vingtaine de «success stories», les concepts de base de la démarche. Elle se voudra avant tout à la portée de ceux et celles qui désirent ré-intégrer la créativité au sein de leur pratique professionnelle et, en finalité, augmenter leur potentiel innovant. [less ▲]

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See detailSketch-Based Interfaces for Modeling and Users' needs: redefining connections. Studies in Architecture and Product Design.
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Demaret, Jean-Noël ULg; Yang, Maria et al

in AI EDAM: Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design Analysis and Manufacturing (2012), 26

The goal of this paper is to reexamine assumptions about Sketch-Based Interfaces for Modeling in the context of designers’ needs and practices. Research questions examine (i) the type of sketch support ... [more ▼]

The goal of this paper is to reexamine assumptions about Sketch-Based Interfaces for Modeling in the context of designers’ needs and practices. Research questions examine (i) the type of sketch support and (ii) the timing of support. Both concepts try to determine when, what, why and how to augment design processes in a way that is useful to designers. Two experiments (one in architecture and one in product design) based on ergonomics theory are conducted and intend to question some of these assumptions. The “Port Zeeland” experiment examines how twenty novices perceive and copy a blurred architectural sketch, which provides clues for a sketch interpretation system. “Tragere” experiment studies how 12 professional product designers, some of whom are “idea-generators” and others “idea-pursuers”, perceive, recognize and handle a design sketch. The results take a designer’s point of view in assessing the timing and value of sketch assistance in product design. The quantitative data analysis provides rich clues about when, why and how product sketches should be supported. The paper explores the strategies developed by designers to perceive and recognize graphical content, and discusses the generation of 3D volumes, the univocity state between sketches and 3D models, and the treatment of features in freehand sketches. The paper concludes with observations on the timing and value of support, as first integrated in NEMo, a tool for early stage architectural design, and then in PEPS3, an early stage framework for product design. [less ▲]

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See detailLe Design Thinking: de la "boîte noire" du designer à la boîte à outil de l'innnovateur
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Cornet, Adeline ULg

Article for general public (2012)

Ce premier article du blog d'ID Campus révèle au grand public les facettes du Design Thinking.

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See detailWhat do strokes teach us about collaborative design ?
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Darses, Francoise; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2012), 7467

Understanding collaborative design goes far beyond analyzing group dynamics, tasks allocations or negotiation during decision-making processes. In this paper, we focused on the collaborative sketching ... [more ▼]

Understanding collaborative design goes far beyond analyzing group dynamics, tasks allocations or negotiation during decision-making processes. In this paper, we focused on the collaborative sketching process, during which the intentions of designers are supported by their sketches and by specific strokes.Twelve professional designers attended an experimental design session, where they were asked to express, share, capture or interpret sketches. A qualitative and quantitative fine-grained analysis of strokes teach us (i) how designers tend to deal with representations that are not theirs; (ii) what main graphical key-features constitute the inner nature of the shared information and (iii) how and when can this graphic essence be shared with collaborators. [less ▲]

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See detailRepresentation in early stage design: an analysis of the influence of sketching and prototyping in design projects
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Häggman, Anders; Tomonori, Honda et al

in Proceedings of the ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (2012)

Sketching and prototyping of design concepts have long been valued as tools to support productive early stage design. This study investigates previous findings about the use and timing of use of such ... [more ▼]

Sketching and prototyping of design concepts have long been valued as tools to support productive early stage design. This study investigates previous findings about the use and timing of use of such design tools. This study considers such tools in the context of team design projects. General trends and statistically significant results about “sketchstorming” and prototyping suggest that, in certain constrained contexts, the focus should be on the quality of information rather than on the quantity of information generated, and that prototyping should begin as soon as possible during the design process. Ramifications of these findings are discussed in the context of educating future designers on the efficient use of design tools. [less ▲]

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See detailLa médiation par les objets en design industriel - Perspectives pour l'ingénierie de conception
Elsen, Catherine ULg

Doctoral thesis (2011)

The preliminary ideation phase, determining more than 70 % of a project’s total costs, is a crucial part of the design process. It usually gathers several actors around the innovative solving process of a ... [more ▼]

The preliminary ideation phase, determining more than 70 % of a project’s total costs, is a crucial part of the design process. It usually gathers several actors around the innovative solving process of a complex problem : it merges their complementary expertise, the use of mediating objects as well as a mysterious part of creativity in order to reach a solution if not innovative, at least satisfactory. With the introduction of always more powerful Computer Aided Design tools, industrial design sees its every-day practices drastically evolving : these software still not support designers during their preliminary design phases and free-hand sketches, on the other hand, encounter increasing difficulties to meet today time-to-market pressures. This thesis analyzes free-hand sketches’ and CAD tools’ respective and complementary strengths as supports to preliminary design phases. Advanced design engineering concepts, nurturing the study of the particular articulation existing between both mediating objects, are associated with dedicated Human Factors methodologies for the analysis of every-day professional practices. The research project draws its main qualitative and quantitative results from three field studies and two experimentations, bringing together more than forty professional designers and three design companies. Its multi-disciplinary approach leads to models and recommendations that directly nurture the definition of a new design support system. The specifications tend to respect, augment or, on the contrary, reject some aspects of these mediating objects and aim at supporting a design process always in respect with designers’ constraints and real needs. Beyond the concepts of our support system, we discuss some results that are of interest for communities of design engineering and human-computer interaction. Among these results are : - the extension of the preliminary design phase’s boarders ; - the non-dichotomous approach of rough and detailed mediating objects ; - the coexistence of two design moves : in addition to Schön’s «see-transform-see» theory, the externalization of a strong mental image or a strong pre-inventive form explains the early uses of CAD tools ; - the study of tool’s uses and misuses and graphic and semantic contents of external representations all along the design process, reintroduced in a simplified four-steps model ; the study of shifts occurring between 2D and 3D representations and their implications for the system’s automatization ; - and, at the strokes’ scale, the study of the exploitable key-features and the strokes’ cycles and their implications for the temporality of assistance. The thesis also discusses the added-value of its theoretical and methodological background for the materialization of a design-engineering community that articulates designer, mediating objects, design process and end-users in a coherent system, sound basis for the specification of adapted and adopted design support systems. [less ▲]

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See detailMediating objects in new industrial cooperative practices: an empirical in situ study.
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

in International Reports on Socio-Informatics (2010), 7(1), 240-253

This paper studies new cooperative practices using an “anthropo-based” approach of “mediating objects”. It provides insights into cooperative modalities with draughtsmen and mediating objectsʼ potentials ... [more ▼]

This paper studies new cooperative practices using an “anthropo-based” approach of “mediating objects”. It provides insights into cooperative modalities with draughtsmen and mediating objectsʼ potentials as efficient cooperative medium. It suggests to consider design toolsʼ and representationsʼ complementarities instead of maladjustments in order to design cooperative support systems closer to real industrial practices. [less ▲]

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See detailPratiques nouvelles en conception industrielle: adaptation des acteurs, des objets médiateurs et des modalités de travail.
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Dawans, Arnaud ULg

Conference (2010)

Une intervention in situ de deux mois au sein d’une équipe de conception de produits industriels (designers, dessinateurs), construite sur les méthodologies et théories de l’approche ergonomique « ... [more ▼]

Une intervention in situ de deux mois au sein d’une équipe de conception de produits industriels (designers, dessinateurs), construite sur les méthodologies et théories de l’approche ergonomique « compréhensive », interroge les pratiques nouvelles de ces métiers depuis l’avènement de la CAO. Les « objets médiateurs » sont considérés selon leurs apports respectifs et complémentaires et non plus selon une approche dichotomique, et leur étude structure l’ensemble du recueil des données. Une méthodologie de traitement et d’analyse des informations récoltées est présentée (approche chronologique et analyses « verticales » sur base de lignes du temps). Celle-ci nous permet de tracer les nombreuses adaptations dont font preuve les acteurs tout au long de leur processus: adaptations de leurs outils et représentations, de leurs modalités de travail individuelles ou collaboratives, adaptations et développement de nouvelles compétences. [less ▲]

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See detailEvolution des pratiques en conception: une approche ergonomique compréhensive des objets médiateurs
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Darses, Françoise; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

in Proceedings of the Ergonomie et Informatique Avancée Conference (2010)

Cet article examine l’évolution et la modulation des usages des « objets médiateurs » en design industriel depuis l’avènement des outils de CAO (Conception Assistée par Ordinateur). Ces outils ont ... [more ▼]

Cet article examine l’évolution et la modulation des usages des « objets médiateurs » en design industriel depuis l’avènement des outils de CAO (Conception Assistée par Ordinateur). Ces outils ont longtemps été étudiés en regard des avantages et inconvénients que leur utilisation constituait pour le processus de conception, et toujours en comparaison des outils dits « traditionnels » (dessins à main levée, maquettes) [9 ; 5]. L’article suggère d’étudier plutôt ces outils, médiateurs de l’activité de conception, pour leur complémentarité qui apparaît parfois très en amont du processus de conception (dès la phase conceptuelle). Les bases théoriques qui structurent l’ensemble de l’intervention sont présentées et discutées à la lumière de cette suggestion tout comme les principaux résultats d’une intervention in situ, pour une objectivation des nouvelles pratiques « métier ». [less ▲]

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See detailAn anthropo-based study of industrial design cooperative practices using "mediating objects"
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Dawans, Arnaud ULg; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2010), 6240

This paper presents a two months in situ case study analyzing the characteristics of designers’ cooperative work through the use of “mediating objects”. We suggest that the consideration of real and ... [more ▼]

This paper presents a two months in situ case study analyzing the characteristics of designers’ cooperative work through the use of “mediating objects”. We suggest that the consideration of real and evolutionary practices and everyday complementary work tools helps to understand the various cooperative modalities between co-workers and offers good clues for the development of cooperative support systems. [less ▲]

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See detailAn Anthropo-based Standpoint on Mediating Objects: Evolution and Extension of Industrial Design Practices.
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Darses, Françoise; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

in Gero, John (Ed.) Design Computing and Cognition '10 (2010)

This paper questions the new uses of design tools and representations in the industrial field. A two months in situ observation of real industrial practices shows (i) how strongly CAD (Computer-Aided ... [more ▼]

This paper questions the new uses of design tools and representations in the industrial field. A two months in situ observation of real industrial practices shows (i) how strongly CAD (Computer-Aided Design) tools are integrated in work practices, in preliminary design phases as well, and (ii) how design actors sometimes deviate this tool from its initial objectives to use it in complement of sketches’ contributions. A multi-layered study built on an anthropo-based approach helps us to deepen the “mediating objects” analysis. It also suggests considering the complementarities of design tools instead of their differences in order to propose another kind of design support tool. [less ▲]

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See detailExtension et modulation des usages des outils médiateurs en design industriel. Impact sur les processus de conception.
Elsen, Catherine ULg

Master of advanced studies dissertation (2009)

L'observation via une approche ergonomique compréhensive de l'extension et la modulation de l'utilisation des outils médiateurs en design industriel depuis l'avènement de la CAO nous a permis : (i) d ... [more ▼]

L'observation via une approche ergonomique compréhensive de l'extension et la modulation de l'utilisation des outils médiateurs en design industriel depuis l'avènement de la CAO nous a permis : (i) d'élargir les frontières du domaine de la pré-conception telles que généralement présentées : y sont désormais inclues, en plus des dessins à main levée, les représentations externes générées par les outils de CAO, dont le potentiel de soutien aux phases conceptuelles sera révélé lorsque l'on aura extrait des catachrèses, genèses instrumentales et schèmes d'utilisation l'essence des spécifications qui les rendront tout à fait adaptées; (ii) de moduler les niveaux de compréhension des métiers de la conception en design industriel, en soulignant l'importante part de co-conception et de "conception en cohabitation" qui apparaît avec le nouveau métier de dessinateur et l'usage des outils médiateurs. L'intervention sur le terrain est nourrie de ces apports plus conceptuels qui nous aident à comprendre dans quelle mesure l'amélioration des conditions de travail en conception industrielle pourrait concourir à l'atteinte des objectifs ergonomiques pour les autres métiers et les utilisateurs finaux. [less ▲]

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See detailDe l'esquisse à la maquette digitale : transformation des représentations graphiques en modèles numériques pour l'ingénierie de conception.
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

Conference (2008)

Ce projet s’intéresse à la place que tient aujourd’hui l’esquisse et les représentations 3D au sein du processus de conception, et plus particulièrement au sein des phases amont de la création chez les ... [more ▼]

Ce projet s’intéresse à la place que tient aujourd’hui l’esquisse et les représentations 3D au sein du processus de conception, et plus particulièrement au sein des phases amont de la création chez les designers de produit. La question posée est la pertinence de l’esquisse au sein du système global des représentations externes et sa place actuelle dans le monde des possibles offerts par la CAO. La finalité de la recherche est l’objectivation d’un concept IHM pouvant effectivement et efficacement supporter les designers en phase créative. [less ▲]

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See detailThe sketch power to support product design.
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

in Marjanovic, D.; Storga, M.; Pavkovic, N. (Eds.) et al Proceedings of the Design 2008 : 10th International Design Conference, Vol 2 (2008)

This paper is interested in the extent to which sketches and 3D representations are important in today's design process, particularly during the preliminary creative phases of product design. We question ... [more ▼]

This paper is interested in the extent to which sketches and 3D representations are important in today's design process, particularly during the preliminary creative phases of product design. We question the relevance of sketches within systems of external representations and amongst the infinite possibilities offered by CAD tools. This exploratory research is conducted through 3 steps: an information gathering step where we assess the current state of art, a direct contact with designers through interviews and the testing of the existing theories through pragmatic experimentation. The project’s goal is to objectivize a Human Machine Interaction that could effectively and efficiently support the product designers in their creative phases. [less ▲]

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See detail"SketSha" or the sketch power to support collaborative design.
Elsen, Catherine ULg; Leclercq, Pierre ULg

in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2008), 5220

This paper presents a new supporting tool for distant collaborative design, named SketSha. This prototype supports the early stages of design and more particularly the initial and crucial step of free ... [more ▼]

This paper presents a new supporting tool for distant collaborative design, named SketSha. This prototype supports the early stages of design and more particularly the initial and crucial step of free-hand sketching. SketSha and its particular interface, named the virtual desktop, aim to keep from Front-To-Front collaborative work all the benefits and to appoint to them some of the nowadays IT facilities, in order to manage in a realistic and efficient way a long distance collaboration and to effectively serve the designers’ needs. Our hope is to re-introduce the social aspects and group interactions, crucial for real system efficacy and adaptation to the business world. The paper presents the fundamental assumptions made to implement SketSha, that are questioned and analyzed through a real-size experimentation featuring 30 architecture and building engineering students, working together in real-time in different locations (Belgium and France). This experiment and the necessary survey open up interesting fields of investigations, such as the relevance of the sketch stage and the proposed device to support distant collaborative design in architecture and the benefit it represents for students, in a pedagogical point of view, to merge the IT aspects and the design studio. The methodology and the replicability are analyzed to increase the level and quality of our students’ formation and, finally, a critic of SketSha constitutes a benefit for the developing teams. [less ▲]

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See detailDistributed Collaborative Design Studio : a sketch-based environment to support rich distant collaboration. Workshop.
Safin, Stéphane ULg; Delfosse, Vincent ULg; Elsen, Catherine ULg et al

Conference (2008)

An increasing number of large scale projects requires that distant teams collaborate together remotely. At the same time, the current CAD tools only offer minimal support for partial and asynchronous ... [more ▼]

An increasing number of large scale projects requires that distant teams collaborate together remotely. At the same time, the current CAD tools only offer minimal support for partial and asynchronous interactions. The application we propose enables full synchronous and remote sketch-based collaborative design. This setup is a combination of a virtual desktop (a remote meeting table), a standard videoconference system, a gesture recognition module and a networked, real-time, collaborative drawing software (SketSha). The solution as a whole is multimodal in essence (gestures, speech, drawing…) supporting immersive remote collaborative design. [less ▲]

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