About the Design Observatory

The design observatory is a core instrument for conducting research in the field of design theory and methodology. This field was established in 1986 by the National Science Foundation primarily to improve our understanding of the engineering design process. At Stanford, we have focused on in-situ observation of designers with a particular emphasis on video and audio based recordings. Video and audio based observations have the following advantages:

They allow us to create a permanent record of the activity which can be replayed and reinterpreted.

They produce process data in the sense that we can observe the evolution of an idea or a situation.

They produce access to behaviors and interactions that could have been missed by a limited number of observers.

They allow us to reduce observer bias and better corroborate our results.

Despite these advantages, video and audio based observations suffer from one major disadvantage namely that the data analysis is tedious and time consuming.

What makes up the Design Observatory

Coming soon - specifications