GEPP-net: a system to support collaboration in the early stages of the design process
This paper introduces the GEPP-net: a Web-based system to support collaborative work in the early stages of design process. The system brings together technical, managerial and communication tools regarding a well established product design methodology. The paper reviews four previously developed similar systems. Insufficient support for the activities of understanding the customer needs and the development of design specifications were detected as key deficiencies in these systems. The paper describes the requirements and general architecture for the GEPP-net, as well as its fundamental functionality, and discusses three cases where the system was applied in order to evaluate its performance and potential. Besides a good interface design and an appropriate structure, the system presents as a main advantage the fact that design tools and knowledge are presented in the context of a design methodology that works as a backdrop and structure for them.