Excerpt from Cognitive Complexity and Cad Systems: Beyond the Drafting Board Metaphor
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems can and should support and enhance the product development process. Unfortunately, the benefits delivered by current systems have not met users' expectations. We believe that CAD systems should be designed to minimize the cognitive complexity facing the engineer; CAD systems should be easy to use and should help the engineer manage design-related complexity. A series of propositions are developed which refine these ideas.
To evaluate the central propositions, we constructed a prototype CAD system for the design of blanked and bent sheet metal parts. The user of the system is provided with a hand-held input device which interprets actions of the user's hands as production operations on a CAD representation of the part. The user creates sheet metal parts by bending, stretching, pushing, and moving the input device.
The system was demonstrated to engineers, engineering managers, and researchers, who provided ideas for future enhancements. Reactions to the demonstrations of the system have helped evaluate the concepts behind the system. Although we have used sheet metal as an example domain, we believe these ideas can be applied in a broad array of design contexts.
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