The concept of a function is of great importance in design. This paper describes from theory how designers should reason about functions when designing. This paper introduces the link model, showing how functions and properties link the product and its use, to the perceived value of the product. The important and useful distinction between functions and properties is made along with the distinction between “wirk functions,” which is what the product does when operating, and “use functions,” which is what the product is used for. The paper makes a novel contribution beyond previous literature, showing that not only is a product's behavior or mode of action designed but also the use activity of the end user. Based on the theoretical perspective unfolded, the authors offer nine mind-sets for both design practitioners and researchers to consider when reasoning about functions.
Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 2013, Vol 27, Issue 3, p. 233-240