How tangible mock-ups support design collaboration

Eva Brandt


This article is a contribution to a more conscious use of tangible mock-ups in collaborative design processes. It describes a design team’s use of mock- ups in a series of workshops involving potential customers and users. Focus is primarily on the use of three-dimensional design mock-ups and how differences in these affected the dialogue. Reflective conversations were established by using tangible mock-ups as “things-to-think with”. They served as boundary objects that spanned the gap between the different competencies and interests of participants in design. The design mock-ups evoked different things from different participants whereas the challenge for the design team was to find boundaries upon which everybody could agree. The level of details represented in a mock-up affected the communication so that a mock-up with few details evoked different issues whereas a very detailed mock-up evoked a smaller variation of issues resulting in a more focused communication.

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