Developing systems visualisations in design through a typology of visual tasks: a mechatronic case

Agzam Idrissov, Simon Rapp, Albert Albers, Anja M Maier

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Visual representations are essential to design. Data-rich representations such as systems visualisations are gaining prominence in engineering practice. However, as such visualisations are often developed ad-hoc, we propose more systematically to link visual tasks with design-specific tasks for which the visualisations are used. Whereas research on such linking focuses mostly on CAD models and sketches, no such studies are yet available for systems visualisations. Thus, this paper introduces a typology of visual tasks from the Information Visualisation field to aid the development of systems visualisations in design. To build a visualisation using the typology, a case study with engineering students developing an autonomous robot was conducted. Through interviews and analysis of product representations used, design-specific tasks were identified and decomposed into visual tasks. Then, a visualisation that assisted the team in performing their design activities was created. Results illustrate the benefits of using such a typology to describe visual tasks and generate systems visualisations. The study suggests implications for researchers studying visual representations in design as well as for developers of systems visualisations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1222
Number of pages10
JournalProcedings of the Design Society
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2021
Event23rd International Conference on Engineering Design - Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 16 Aug 202120 Aug 2021


  • visualisation
  • design process
  • mechatronics
  • visual representation
  • design activity


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