Development and experimental testing of a collaborative design rationale method for early-stage ship layout design

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Design rationale is a promising way of capturing design decisions and considerations for later retrieval and traceability to improve collaborative design decision-making. To achieve these perceived benefits for early-stage complex ship design, this paper first elaborates on the development of a proof-of-concept design rationale method. The method aims to aid ship designers in the continuous capturing and reuse of design rationale during the collaborative concept design process. Second, the setup and results of an experiment conducted with marine design students and with experts are discussed. This experiment shows how the developed design rationale method benefits collaborative design decision-making such that it leads to improved insight into design issues across the design team during a single design session.