A Design Protocol Analysis Tool

Formerly known as "Linkographer",


LiNKODER is a software tool that aims at automating the calculations in design protocol analysis and hence reducing the cost and time for doing such studies. It has been implemented using Processing Java IDE and is based on the FBS design issues coding scheme.

Linkoder - Learn More.pdf


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Please cite the following paper if you use LiNKODER in your research project:

Pourmohamadi, M., & Gero, J. S. (2011). LINKOgrapher: An analysis tool to study design protocols based on FBS coding scheme. In DS 68-2: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 2: Design Theory and Research Methodology, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08. 2011. [PDF]

The LiNKODER uses Function-Behaviour-Structure (FBS) Coding Scheme to analyse verbal protocols of design. More information about FBS Ontology of Design can be found in the following papers:

  • Gero, J. S. (1990). Design prototypes: a knowledge representation schema for design. AI magazine, 11(4), 26-26.

  • Gero, J. S., & Kannengiesser, U. D. O. (2006). A function-behaviour-structure ontology of processes. In Design Computing and Cognition’06 (pp. 407-422). Springer.

  • Gero, J. S., & Mc Neill, T. (1998). An approach to the analysis of design protocols. Design studies, 19(1), 21-61.

  • Gero, J. S., Kan, J. W., & Pourmohamadi, M. (2011). Analysing design protocols: Development of methods and tools.

  • Kan, J. W., & Gero, J. S. (2017). Quantitative methods for studying design protocols. Springer.


The following research projects are use LiNKODER to analyse design protocols:

  • Gero, J. S., Jiang, H., & Williams, C. B. (2013). Design cognition differences when using unstructured, partially structured, and structured concept generation creativity techniques. International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, 1(4), 196-214.

  • Chai, C., Cen, F., Ruan, W., Yang, C., & Li, H. (2015). Behavioral analysis of analogical reasoning in design: Differences among designers with different expertise levels. Design Studies, 36, 3-30.

  • Jiang, H., & Yen, C. C. (2010). Understanding senior design students’ product conceptual design activities: a comparison between industrial and engineering design students.

  • Hatcher, G., Ion, W., Maclachlan, R., Marlow, M., Simpson, B., Wilson, N., & Wodehouse, A. (2018). Using linkography to compare creative methods for group ideation. Design Studies, 58, 127-152.

  • Becattini, N., Cascini, G., & Rotini, F. (2015). An OTSM-TRIZ based framework towards the computer-aided identification of cognitive processes in design protocols. In Design Computing and Cognition'14 (pp. 99-117). Springer, Cham.

  • Monache, S. D., & Rocchesso, D. (2016). Cooperative sound design: A protocol analysis. In Proceedings of the Audio Mostly 2016 (pp. 154-161).

  • Pauwels, P., Strobbe, T., Derboven, J., & De Meyer, R. (2015). Conversation and critique within the architectural design process: A linkograph analysis. In Design Computing and Cognition'14 (pp. 135-152). Springer, Cham.

  • Chandrasekera, T., & Yoon, S. Y. (2018). The effect of augmented and virtual reality interfaces in the creative design process. International Journal of Virtual and Augmented Reality (IJVAR), 2(1), 1-13.

  • Lee, J. H., & Ostwald, M. J. (2019). Measuring cognitive complexity in parametric design. International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, 7(3), 158-178.

  • Gero, J., & Hao, J. (2014). Comparing the design cognition of concept design reviews of industrial and mechanical engineering designers.

  • Yu, R., Ostwald, M., & Gu, N. (2015). Empirical Evidence of Designers’ Cognitive Behavior in a Parametric Design Environment and Geometric Modeling Environment. In The International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference (IASDR 2015), Brisbane, Australia.

  • Dahiya, A., & Kumar, J. User centric data shaping designer centric creativity: Observations from experimental study.

  • Yu, R. (2014). Exploring the impact of rule algorithms on designers’ cognitive behaviour in a parametric design environment (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Newcastle).

  • Chandrasegaran, R. S. K. (2016). Tools and Methods to Analyze Multimodal Data in Collaborative Design Ideation.

  • Lee, J. H., Ostwald, M. J., & Gu, N. (2020). Measuring Cognitive Complexity. In Design Thinking: Creativity, Collaboration and Culture (pp. 85-110). Springer, Cham.

  • Hurst, A., Nespoli, O. G., Abdellahi, S., & Gero, J. S. (2019, July). A Comparison of Design Activity of Academics and Practitioners Using the FBS Ontology: A Case Study. In Proceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design (Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 1323-1332). Cambridge University Press.


  • Mehrad, S., Dezhdar, O., & Talischi, G. (2020). The application of Linkography method in basic architectural design studio, in order to analyze of novice student & master interactions. Journal of Iranian Architecture & Urbanism.

  • Delle Monache, S., & Rocchesso, D. Exploring design cognition in voice-driven sound sketching and synthesis. In 14th International Symposium on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research (p. 157).

  • Yang, X., & Cheng, J. (2019, July). Impact of Inspiration Sources on Designer’s Idea Generation Strategy. In International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (pp. 42-52). Springer, Cham.

  • Yannou, B., Cluzel, F., & Lamé, G. (2018, August). Adapting the FBS model of designing for usage-driven innovation processes. In International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (Vol. 51845, p. V007T06A011). American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

  • Luo, Y., Liang, M., Gao, L., Zhang, Y., Wang, C., Su, X., & Huang, W. (2020). Investigating Site Survey Process with Protocol Analysis and an Extended FBS Framework.


You need Java Virtual Machine to run LiNKODER. Once Java is installed, you should be able to run LiNKODER regardless of your operating system or it's version.