For the interested.
From Frederick P. Brooks, jr.'s book 'The Design of Design', chapter 17:
Good design is top-down. One starts a prose document with an outline that identifies the key ideas and then the subordinate ones. One begins a program by thinking about a data structure and an algorithm. One starts thinking about a house plan by identifying the functional spaces based on the use cases, and then their connectivity. One early on adresses a building's esthethics in terms of massing.
Great designers, even the most iconoclastic, rarely start from scratch -they build on the rich inheritance from their predecessors. They take an idea from here, an idea from there, add some of their own, and wrestle the mix into a design that has conceptual integrity and a coherent style of its own.
The usual technique is to begin a design with predecential idas but blank paper. One scetches in the big units and then proceeds by progressive refinement, adjusting dimensions and adding more and more detail.
Turner Whitted in 1986 proposed that another, perhaps better, way to build models of physical objects (originally in the context of computer graphics) is to start with a model that is fully detailed but only resembles what is wanted. Then, one adjusts one attribute after another, bringing the result ever closer to the mental vision of the new creation, or to the real properties of the real-world object.
Whitted called this technique progressive truthfulness. In a very real sense, progressive truthfulness is precisely the program of the natural sciences over the past few centuries, as their models approach the existing natural creation.
With human design of artifacts, the very process of designing occasions changes in the mental ideal that the design approaches. Progressive truthfulness radically helps. One has at every step a prototype to study. The prototype is initially valid; that is, there are no inconsistencies in structure. The prototype is always fully detailed, so that visual and aural perceptions of it do not mislead. (...)
Hazard of the progressive truthfulnessis mode
Although I postulate that progressive truthfulness is how the most productive and easy-to-use design systems must be built, it has its inherent hazards.
Some will argue that broad exposure to exemplars will implicitly limit the designer's creativity. Could the designs of a Brunelleschi, a le Corbusier, a Gehry, a Gaudi, emerge from the mind of designers so indoctrinated?
I submit that they did. None were amateurs. All trained by studying precedents. Like Bach, they innovated from mastery, not ignorance. The Grandma Moseses of the world are few.
Perhaps more relevant, these "but what about?" examples represent a minute fraction of designs, and a great tool doesn't have to provide for discontinuities.
The true hazard of progressive truthfulness lurk in the library. Bad models, too few models, too narrow a variety of models -these shortcomings will most limit the emerging designs. This hazard will be worst at the beginning."
The rest of the chapter actually goes into to the concept of transcription from NPR to PMR, as its next headline says, "A vision for Input from Mind to Machine". And in the intro: "Whether designing from an exemplar or de novo, how does one transform thought-stuff into a computer model?
One wants to utter one's castle in the air into existence, using the voice, both hands, the head, and conceivably the feet.(...)"
But the rest deals with specific computer model solutions concerning the usability of pc operation system and architectural house-designing programs. and quite cryptic to me.