Design is a goal-oriented process aimed at solving problems, meeting needs, improving situations, or creating something new or useful . Design rationale (DR) is the reasoning and argumentation that underlies the activities that take place during the design process. DR tools are intended to support various design activities. In upstream design activities, where vague requirements are translated into concrete system specifications, DR schemas can provide a framework with which one can carefully reflect upon design decisions. Structuring design arguments also provides a mechanism by which people with different goals can communicate their positions on design issues. People involved in maintenance or redesign activities can use the documentation produced to avoid spending time reconsidering decisions that have been previously considered. This record can also be an aid in building a cumulative base of design knowledge, which would be a useful learning tool to both students of design and practicing designers . DR systems are primarily intended to support communication, reflection, and analysis in design. DR systems provide support at various phases of design, including conceptual design, detail design, implementation, and maintenance. And, DR is used in a variety of design domains. In some situations, DR is the appropriate tool for the task;
however, it may not be in other situations. In this chapter, we will discuss many of the challenges that have impeded the ability for DR to effectively support designers.