From concept to software: Developing a framework for understanding the process of software design

Punyashloke Mishra, Yong Zhao, Sophia Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


To understand technological innovation (be it the design of a mouse trap or a piece of computer software), it is crucial to understand the process of design. Design is not simply a one-to-one mapping of scientific knowledge or theoretical frameworks onto a problem. Design is a complex and multifaceted process requiring the understanding and implementation of a range of skills and knowledge domains. The design of software in particular entails a lot more than just representing in a computer program the original concepts or learning theory that motivated it. This article offers a framework for understanding the complex processes of design by examining the design process of two computer programs: FLiPS and Tiger. FLiPS is a multimedia program for learning complex concepts in chemistry, while Tiger is an automated manuscript submission and review system. We examine the process of design by identifying and highlighting some significant common themes that underlie the design processes of these two different computer programs. We believe that this framework has much to offer the theory and practice of educational software design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-238
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Research on Computing in Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Educational computing research and development
  • Software design and development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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