Grieb, J. and Lindemann, U. (2005) Design communication in industry: a survey analysis, ICED05

Paper looks at different communication media used in design communication in German companies. The topic is interesting but the number of participants makes the results rather potential than proven. There are representatives from 19 different companies, which gives a good variety in companies. Paper also looks at the effect of the abstraction of product information. Over the entire design process product information becomes more concrete. The classify the communication situations around product information according to the level of abstraction:

  • working on abstract product information (requirement list,. reports, etc.)
  • working on intermediate product information (sketches, diagrams, etc.)
  • working with concrete product information (CAD models, technical drawings, etc.)

The results show that the choice of media does not change according to the situations. E-mail, phone and file sharing were most commonly used. All of these were used more in the beginning than in the end, since more communication is needed at the beginning of the design process.

This paper is seven years old thus this might be the reason for excluding social media applications from it. Paper also states that chat is not used since e-mail and telephone fulfill the same functions better. I have to disagree, since phone does not leave a trace and discussion over e-mail becomes often tangled and messy. I think the use of chat in companies is now more common than it was seven years ago, although phone and e-mail still dominate in communication.