PhD online program #2-


A short explanation and potential use of the scripts can be found here:

Tedjosaputro and Shih, Y.-T (2018- preprints). A visualization tool to investigate the interplay of external and internal processes. In: Gero, J.S. (ed.) DCC’18- The 8th International Conference on Design Computing and Cognition. Springer.

For the online program #1, click here. It is a study script aiming on generating the very basic linkography nodes and links visualisations. Both program #1 and #2 require .csv templates upon request.

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Research seminar: Friday, May 26th

A quick heads up about an upcoming research seminar on a short paper I just submitted. It is part of my methodology exploration of my PhD project, illustrating a possible use of developed JavaScript program of adapted coding schemes. The developed scheme recognises distinctive processes within Cognition, Body and Environment categories. Linkography can be drawn within these categories with degree of flexibility in terms of data presentation. In this paper, a forty-five minute verbal data derived from a sketching session is used to illustrate to possible use of the program. The online program (hosted in Github) is in early stage of development and feedback is very much appreciated.

Date & time: 26 May (Friday) 2-3pm

Venue: PMB (previously SEB) 409, University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Topic: Cognition beyond Designers’ Thoughts, an Aid to Investigate the Interplay of External and Internal Processes


Note: the first program was developed last year to help to illustrate links between design moves, click here for more information. It is based on Linkography (developed by Gabriela Goldschmit), but in a very basic term. The program generates links’ illustration between moves rather than inferring links manually.

Big thank you to Haozhe Zhang.

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LaTeX or Scrivener

Have been using Scrivener for more than two weeks as a writing software, and I have to say it is a sturdy way of writing. A regular word processing software is commonly regarded as not the most optimum environment to write big chunks of writing. Also yesterday I had a chance to attend a LaTeX training on campus, delivered by our colleagues. So I have tried both LaTeX and Scrivener. They are cross compatible, you can combine both strategies. Lots of online reviews about both software, but here are my take on them.

The question remains however, which one I prefer to use for my PhD theses? I am still a big fan of Scrivener. The idea of each sub-section is a new page document, “write now and format later” strategy, flexibility to move around the sub-sections, no more scrolling up and down through hundreds of pages of writing, its cork board view, and the document notes which facilitates my haphazard thoughts are paramount to my workflow. Scrivener is (as advertised), a writing software. Of course it is no an impeccable software. I found problems with referencing system, as the integration is not as smooth as in MS Word.

University of Nottingham uses Harvard system, and there are two ways to produce in-text citations: (Author, year) if the citation is located at the end of a sentence, or Author (year) if the citation is in the middle of a sentence. The first format was not difficult, what we need to do is copy and paste the reference from EndNote to Scrivener. It will appear like this: {Rosenfelder, 2011 #1453} . How about the latter? From Scrivener forum , I received help within a few hour of posting a thread. {Rosenfelder, 2011 #[email protected]@author-year} is an example if we want to use Author (year) format.

Now that the minor citation problem was sorted, I began to explore more. Biggest negative review about Scrivener is its compatibility. Unless my supervisors have Scrivener too, I still need to do “compile” and do the final touch up (creating the reference list, list of contents; for instance) in Ms Word. I tried, and it worked fine. I need to account for these extra time in the future, but for Scrinever has to offer as a writing software; I am happy to proceed. Also, Scrivener does not do well with images and tables, and they still need to be adjusted in other program. What I have been doing is to import my tables as images instead of keeping the format.

Is Scrivener superior compare to LaTeX? I don’t think so. They are different, and it depends on which one you prefer really. Despite the complicated look of LaTeX, I was impressed that it is not as difficult as it looks. LaTeX is a markup language and it is a coding based program, in contrast with MS Word which is an interface based software. It is excellent for typesetting equations and formula, and is also potent in terms of handling large documents. From my personal viewpoints, I prefer working in a less wordy environment (jittery brain!). I am a truly graphic person, and having codes intertwined with my writing will confuse me. For a long piece of writing such as my theses, it will not work. For shorter ones such as papers or resume, I think I can manage. Good knowledge to obtain for future publications as it is used widely in scientific world, and I thank Chuang Gao and Liming for the training.


Figure 1. My first LaTex trial.



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Theses management tool

My final PhD theses is a project, it is definitely the biggest written project I will produce (approximately 100k words). Before I started writing, I had a quick look on what can possibly go wrong with such a lengthy document, as a precaution. For instance, the regular word processing software starts to be unreliable when it hits 50k words. Another thing is how to sustain my writing focus. I am a mixed non-digital and digital person, but a graphic person for sure due to my design background. Every new idea starts with a clean white paper and pen, either sketches or merely scribbles. Then I move to Photoshop or digitalise my doodles. Also a big fan of programs or apps which can boost my effectiveness. One day it hit me that I struggle to retain haphazard thoughts about my theses. One minute I had a new idea I want to put in Introduction, the next minute I thought about a graphic I want to have to summarise my research methodology session; for instance. I made my notebook as systematic as possible, but I hit my limit. I want my important year to be documented too. So I decided to have layers of documenting ideas. From my notebook which is basically a brain spew with colourful markers, then I will filter it to Trello (task-based, filtering information from my notebook) and Scrivener when I start writing a sub-section. See this thread, my take on Scrivener and LaTeX.

So I am trying a brilliant (and free for simple use) mobile app called Trello, to document my workflow. Not just the theses itself, but also some bits and bobs around my PhD project. The idea is that my supervisors can see my updates at any given time, without me sending updates. Drafts of theses chapters or any other writings can also be viewed and downloaded by four of us. Also it gives me a platform to organise and mature my thoughts.

The second screenshot below provides a glimpse of my current Trello page. It is on my Drafts of theses chapter board. in Trello, I uploaded a screenshot of my Scrivener’s corkboard layout and binder . It gives a glance of what I am writing in this chapter.  So, I have a numerous concern about this particular chapter, including what I have written in the past 3 years and what I found through my pre-pilot and pilot studies. The research methods were amended throughout the course of three years, and in Trello I can jot down quick reminders about the chapter, including checklists of sub-sections. I can edit this anytime if I have new ideas. From this, I will bring my reminders and elaborate more in Scrivener by listing them down in designated Document Notes. A somewhat different workflow in comparison with using a regular word processing software.

Trello is a magnificent online collaborative tool, plenty of good reviews out there. We can set a deadline, apply labels in different boards and add in members. And I think for individual use, it is a great way to freeze ideas and manage them. I am sharing my page with my three supervisors, and hopefully we can make a good use of it. Of course nobody has the same workflow, whatever floats your boat really. If you’d like to try yourself, make your way to .The only downside is that the free account covers up to 10MB only (which is not much), so big files still need to be saved in a Cloud space somewhere.

20170316_Trello screenshot

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Differences in Sketches and Mental Imagery in Ideation Stage of Novice Designers

Update: The most recent publication is now up in Springer. 

It is part of my ongoing PhD discussions related to the use of external and internal representations.

Abstract. Previous empirical studies in sketches and mental imagery showed that there is no significant difference in overall quality and possibility to use mental imagery as design tool. This preliminary study explores distinctions between two kinds of sessions in terms of how ideas are generated. Four design sessions of two novice designers are used to unveil differences. Based on preliminary results, physical properties of sketches underlie differences, also the availability of visual cues apart from the drawings itself. During interpretation stage, sketches provides an additional dialogue which is not available in mental imagery session. The use of mental imagery as design tool in novice designers vary and may not as effective as in experts. Pauses and gesture in both sessions are found to be fundamental designing aspects, including in environment when sketches are allowed. When crucial differences are no longer assumed, interplaying roles between the two can then be explored further.

Link to publication as follow:


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PhD online program #1- Linkography: study script

Started with lengthy and laborious processes in producing Linkographs manually (using Autocad and Photoshop), I decided to seek help to have a script to automated the process. Now we have a running script for the purpose of exploration. Benefits of the script: 1) quick try and fix 2) aid the process of second rating by a second rater  3) flexible output: either we want to show the data in macro level and micro level. The output’s perimeter can be adjusted according to your needs. For instance, selecting the appropriate size of vertices and limited colour of edges. I found differentiation is useful for different analysis purposes. And on a personal note, 4) it is very helpful to explore my data while constructing a new coding scheme for my specific study.


Edit: It is already online, click here .  For input template (.csv file) please get in touch.

Linkography is developed by Gabriela Goldschmidt, link to the book is here.

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Interplay 2015 conference, Brisbane.

Last week I was privileged to attend the conference in an amazing city, Brisbane. With the intertwining theme of design, technology, arts and science’; the congress showcased an array of design research. The sixth International Congress of IASDR (International Associations of Societies of Design Research), with five member organisations: DRS, DS, CID, JSSD and KSDS.

My favourite ones are: designing vases with the use of smartphone, smart clothing and the three keynote sessions. Apart from that, sessions which are related with my own research (interesting ideation methods, design problem framing, Kees Dorst’s “Frame Creation and TRIZ”, Kokotovich’s “Re-imagining Reflection-in-action and Co-evolution”, sketch ability and visual diagnostics for protocol studies); provided me with confident to pursue what I am doing at the moment. I had a chance to talk to Goldschmidt too, which was an absolute pleasure and made the journey to Australia a worthwhile exercise.

I had the opportunity to present a paper entitled Contribution of smartpens to design studies in capturing design process” (page 2001 on proceedings), more of a methodological reflection of the pre-pilot and pilot studies. Disclaimer: authors are not affiliated with the company, and generalisation for other products may be appropriate but untested. Let me know if you are keen on exploring about the pen or have any experience you’d like to share 🙂


ABSTRACT: The paper focuses on technical and methodological aspects of using smartpens to capture sketching activities in the idea generation stage. Aiming to consider a more effective way to capture designers’ decisions, moves, verbal and non-verbal cues; the paper attempts to provide a critical appraisal of how smartpen-based recording system are able to improve small-scale observational studies’ rigorousness and increases richness of data. Comparison of conventional pen-and-video and smartpen devices are illustrated, by conducting two think-aloud design sessions using both mechanisms. Advantages and disadvantages will be analysed to provide balance views of the two tools. In general, both are able to capture sequences of thoughts, including moving through one page to another. Preliminary findings show that smartpens are somewhat superior in terms of: obtaining unobstructed views of the sketching process as result of participants’ hand/shadow or glare, pencast (replayed video) aids exploration of design strategies investigation, auto-synchronised thinking aloud (verbal) and sketching (actions) foster the effectiveness of study, minimal use of a single recording device and also possibly promote exploration in shading, textual aids, contextual aids and other cues of sketches. However, pen-and-video tools are more efficient at capturing hand gestures. Some recommendations for future studies are also suggested.

Note: Photography of Brisbane can be found in my Flickr.

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Call for participants (main study)

Hiya all, thanks for dropping by. I am hope you are reading this because you are interested on joining the study. Here are a couple of options you can choose to be in touch:

1. Email me here: [email protected]

2. Find me in Wechat. ID: miatedjosaputro

Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions regarding the study. We had some good fun during the pre-pilot and pilot studies, this round it’ll be enjoyable too. Read more about the study here. Also kindly spread the words!

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MAD Talk 5:

MAD (My Awesome Doctoral) Talk is organised by some doctoral degree students in UNNC to promote cross-disciplinary research environment.

MAD Talk 5 “The use of sketches and mental imagery in the ideation process: A pilot study.

Abstract: The research focuses on exploration of the design process in the early design stage. Different modes of representation are utilised during this stage, however, comparison will be conducted only through external and internal representation. The role of free-hand sketches is evidently indispensable, but the use of mental imagery and their interplaying roles are always assumed but not thoroughly observed. The aim of the research is to provide empirical evidence of the interplay and also to contribute to addressing the difficulty in measuring mental imagery. Protocol studies were conducted in two different environments, with and without sketches.


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