In software development hundreds of artifacts are generated daily. Along the development process, the concept of a product is often lost or degraded due to distributed development (geospatial and timezone separation) and distinct stakeholder roles. We call this phenomenon “conceptual degradation.” Currently, in practice, organizations attempt to minimize conceptual degradation by capturing and storing bits of design information in multiple, disparate tools (i.e., design and coordination tools).

We are currently developing and exploring a potential solution to solve this problem called Linecept. Linecept is a conceptual design coordination tool that enables users to manually collect and retrieve relevant design artifacts. The ultimate goal of Linecept is to help developers and related stakeholders to minimize conceptual degradation of a product.


Multi-timeline interface –¬†Currently, we are developing and exploring a time based interface that gives an advanced organizing structure for different coordination activities and artifacts. We expect that creating, remembering workflows and relationships will be easier with the time based interface compared to multi-window scrollable and table based interfaces.

Each created timeline in a project can mean different aspects of a software design process such as architecture design, or user interface design. We also incorporate artifacts into timelines. Thus, timelines do not only act as an overall timely guide and information source about the design process but they are also enabling the semi-structured access and manipulation of actual artifacts.

Lightweight methods to access and interact with information – It is known that individuals and teams struggle to hold on to the concept of a software product during development. This is primarily due to a lack of effort to record seemingly non-critical design information at that given moment. The underlying reason why these artifacts are not recorded is that capturing the artifact takes too much cognitive and interaction effort. At the same time, the payout of recording an artifact is often significantly delayed, so the action does not seem worthwhile in the moment and is often not carried out. However, if these bits of design information were more easily retrievable, individuals might realize the crucial role they can play in the development process.

We are exploring a range of advanced (relying on interactive interface design) information accessing methods that can help reduce the aforementioned cognitive burden, so that keeping and retrieving the seemingly unimportant design information would become significantly easier.

More Information

Current developers and contributors

  • David Kutas
  • Aditya Nair
  • Emily Kan
  • Alissa Powers (graduate class project)
  • Agnes Romhanyi (graduate class project)
  • Omar Valenzuela (undergraduate researcher)

Past developers and contributors

  • Hillary Abraham (graduate class project)
  • Yang Yue (graduate class project)
  • Jina Hong (graduate class project)