Domain Theory is a systems approach for the analysis and synthesis of products. Its basic idea is to view a product as systems of activities, organs and parts and to define structure, elements, behaviour and function in these domains. The theory is a basis for a long line of research contributions and industrial applications especially for the DFX areas (not reported here) and for product modelling. The theory therefore contains a rich ontology of interrelated concepts. The Domain Theory is not aiming to create normative methods but the creation of a collection of concepts related to design phenomena, which can support design work and to form elements of designers’ mindsets and thereby their practice. The theory is a model-based theory, which means it is composed of concepts and models, which explains certain design phenomena. Many similar theories are described in the literature with differences in the set of concepts but assumingly all valid. The Domain Theory cannot be falsified or proven; but its value may be seen spanning from its range and productivity as described in the article.
An Anthology of Theories and Models of Design: Philosophy, Approaches and Empirical Explorations, 2014, p. 173-195