NC State University || College of Design
Design Research & Extension Program
 ::  home  ::  projects  ::  Comparison of Realities

A Comparison of Realities: Will emerging digital representational tools change our design judgements and results?
Principal Investigators:
Michael Holmes
Art Rice
Jay Tomlinson

Research Assistants:
Jianxin Hu
Jin Hou

March to November 2000

This research examines the impact of virtual reality representations on trained designerís evaluative judgments by comparing conventional representational media to computer-generated simulations.

When oneís goal is to design a physical environment the means of representation used to depict the emerging solution can have a significant impact on the evaluation of that emerging solution and therefore the results of the design effort. This research focused around an experiment that explored the impact of representational media on the results of evaluative judgments. Specifically, this paper explores the impact of virtual reality representations on "expert" evaluative judgments.

Issues examined include efforts made to identify differences in design judgments that correlate with changes in representational media. Viewing modes, such as ìoverviewî, ìwalk-throughî and panorama were also identified to effect evaluative judgments of a design. The results of this effort potentially indicate that when trained designers view a simulation of a space their perception of the space is, to some degree, affected by the representational media.

Figure 1. The ìwalkthroughî was indicated by a series of arrows on the traditional media. The participants were asked to mentally visualize the experience of walking along the indicated path.

Figure 2. One image from the series of ìwalk-throughî images, as presented in the computer generated virtual reality representations.