Synopses & Reviews
Understanding Virtual Design Studios examines the issues involved in setting up and running a virtual design studio. Rather than focusing on the technology or how to apply it, the reader is presented with an interdisciplinary framework for understanding, organising, running and improving virtual design studios both in professional and educational practice. The authors assess the potential benefits, such as improved creativity and collaboration, and highlight the areas in which our understanding needs to improve:How people collaborate in an environment where interaction is mediated by shared computer resourcesHow to organise and manage a distributed workspace efficientlyHow people represent and communicate design ideas in an electronic formOf interest to both design professionals and researchers interested in computer-mediated collaboration, this volume will also be of interest to anyone who needs a clear picture of what this new technology can do for them.
The idea of a Virtual Design Studio (VDS) has been around for many years. In the early days, establishing a way of transferring documents by file transfer was enough to establish a virtual design studio. Our expectations are greater now. Along with document transfer, we expect to be able to work with others at a distance as if they were in the same physical room. We have seen how email, video conferences, and shared whiteboards can provide environments in which we can do many of the things we are used to doing face to face. The internet has changed the way we communicate at a personal level and now affects the way we work professionally. Along with the new technology and the initial excitement, we have also experienced frustration when our expectations are beyond the capability for the technology to deliver. This frustration is due to the relative immaturity of software solutions to collaboration, and also due to the lack of software support for designing. We cannot just take a set of tools off the shelf and create a virtual design studio. We first need to understand what is possible in a virtual design studio, and then understand what the technology can provide. At a more fundamental level, we need to understand the differences between working in the physical presence of our collaborators and using technology to allow us to communicate at a distance.