Design Rationale as Theory

John M. Carroll and Mary Beth Rosson,     Virginia Tech

A computer system does not itself express the motivations that initiated its design; the user requirements it was intended to address; the discussions, debates, and negotiations that determined its organization; the reasons for its particular features; the reasons against features it does not have; the weighing of tradeoffs; and so forth. This information comprises the design rationale of the system. It can be critical to the many stakeholders in a design process: customers, users, service providers, and marketers, as well as designers who want to build upon the system and the ideas it embodies.

Design rationale can contribute to theory development ...

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