I-SURF Students Collaborate with SDCL on KNOCAP’s Development

Professor André van der Hoek and Ph.D. student Adriana Meza Soria from the UCI Software Design and Collaboration Laboratory (SDCL) are collaborating with a team of undergraduate students from Kookmin University in Korea on the implementation of KNOCAP, a tool for collecting important design bits (IDBs) from whiteboard design meetings. Students Seunghwan Hong, Nayoung Lee, and Sanghoon Kim came to Irvine as part of the UCI I-SURF summer research program and extended their visit to Fall quarter to continue working on this project.

Undergraduate Sanghoon Kim, Prof. André van der Hoek, undergraduate Nayoung Lee, Ph.D. student Adriana Meza Soria, and undergraduate Seunghwan Hong.

The KNOCAP project pursues building an understanding of how designers document their design progress during whiteboard design meetings, and how this activity could be improved upon through tool support. Meza Soria is particularly interested in observing what information designers consider relevant to keep – with an eye toward later meetings, and what tools would be ideal to collect design bits, by which she means decisions, constraints, alternatives, assumptions, key stakeholders, and so on.

KNOCAP is an electronic whiteboard application which, during sketching, allows designers to keep voice notes from their conversation by relying on lightweight interactions (e.g., button clicks, short voice commands). Some of these interactions are part of the whiteboard interface, while others are external (e.g. a mobile interface that works as remote control). This project is part of Meza Soria’s long-term research, which comprises not only the collection of IDBs, but also the smart retrieval of them in future meetings. Meza Soria views KNOCAP as the ideal tool to explore lightweight interfaces that are able to aid design knowledge collection. At the same time, she envisions KNOCAP as an instrument to build a rich knowledgebase of IDBs, which in future she will be able to use for other stages of her research.

Over two quarters, the Kookmin University undergrads have used advanced technologies (e.g., React and Google Cloud Services) to implement multiple features of KNOCAP. The students have also supported Meza Soria in conducting a series of pilot studies using the tool. While these pilot studies are in early phases, they are already showing the potential of KNOCAP. The studies have also pointed out important considerations such as the need for actually assigning a dedicated notetaker, as otherwise designers in the throes of brainstorming and deciding may simply forget to indicate to KNOCAP when something important just happened.

While the Kookmin students have returned home, the KNOCAP project continues. Soon, Meza Soria will be conducting an actual comparative experiment to demonstrate the value of KNOCAP. She will also be developing the smart retrieval side of KNOCAP, pushing the tool into understanding the conversations that go on and interjecting, on its own, relevant knowledge from past meetings.

To learn more about KNOCAP, contact Meza Soria at

This article appeared in ISR Connector issue: