Behaviors of Novice and Expert Designers in the Design Process: From Discovery to Design

Hsi-Jen Chen, Yan-Ting Chen, Chia-Han Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


It is generally known that expert and novice designers work in different ways and also engage in different behavior during the design process. In order to have a better understanding of how they behave during the design process, the objective of this paper is to explore the differences between experts and novice behavior. A protocol method was adopted to examine the sequence of the design phases and design activities, along with the amount of time spent, the number and frequencies of occurrence, and also the frequencies of transition between phases. The results were revealed using a protocol analysis with sequence maps and quantitative data. We found different and similar design behaviors of experts and novices in the entire design process. No significant differences were found between the experts and the novices in terms of the general sequence and the total time spent on each phase during the design process. However, we did find differences in the early stage of the process which made an impact on the subsequent design behavior and performance. At the later stage of the process, the experts tended to stay in the design phase. On the other hand, more frequent transitions among the three phases were observed in novices during the later stage of the process which could be a result of needing to compensate the incompleteness in the previous phases. The outcomes of this paper provide insights for not only designers themselves but also for educators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-76
JournalInternational Journal of Design
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec 31


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