Collaborative Sketching with skWiki: A Case Study

by | Aug 14, 2014

Authors: Senthil Chandrasegaran, Sriram Karthik Badam, Zhenpeng Zhao, Niklas Elmqvist, Lorraine Kisselburgh, Karthik Ramani
Proceedings of the ASME IDETC/CIE Conference, Aug 17-20,Buffalo, NY, 2014.

Sketching for conceptual design has traditionally been performed on paper. Recent computational tools for conceptual design have leveraged the availability of hand-held computing devices and web-based collaborative platforms. Further, digital sketching interfaces have the added advantages of storage, duplication, and sharing on the web. We have developed skWiki, a tool that enables collaborative sketching on digital tablets using a web-based framework. We evaluate skWiki in two contexts, (a) as a collaborative ideation tool, and (b) as a design research tool. For this evaluation, we perform a longitudinal study of an undergraduate design team that used skWiki over the course of the concept generation and development phase of their course project. Our analysis of the team’s sketching activity indicated instances of lateral and vertical transformation between participants, indicating collaborative exploration of the breadth and depth of the design space. Using skWiki for this evaluation also demonstrated it to be an effective research tool to investigate such collaborative design processes.

Lateral and vertical transformations observed in the study. Lateral transformations can occur through modification of an existing sketch, or through the creation of a new sketch inspired from an existing sketch, to create a new idea. Vertical transformations can occur through adding details such as dimensions, annotations, or features to an existing sketch, or through a new sketch showing a different detail, to develop an existing idea.



Senthil Chandrasegaran is a postdoctoral scholar in the Visualization & Interface Design Innovation (VIDI) lab at the University of California, Davis. His work focuses on aiding collaboration through the capture and display of information generated in collaborative settings. Senthil was also a postdoctoral scholar at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park from April 2016 -- Aug 2017, where he worked on using visual analytics to aid qualitative analysis of data, and understanding physical and cognitive aspects of sketching during ideation. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue, where his work at the C Design Lab focused on understanding collaboration in the conceptual stages of design, by developing visual analytics-based techniques to make sense of multimodal design protocol data. In a past life before graduate school, he also worked in the automotive industry, specializing in interior trim design, and then in the heavy engineering industry, specializing in structural analysis and knowledge-based engineering. For more details, please visit his website [link].