Benchmarking

Benchmarking is the comparison of an attribute against a reference or standard. Measuring a new product against existing products successful in the market can help clarify the emphasis to be placed on different attributes within a product design specification in order for the new product to potentially be as successful.

Using other products or businesses as a benchmark can lead to making a product or service differently, using a different material, colour, texture or combination of controls. The aim of applying a benchmarking exercise, in the context of AT-ID, is to match or surpass the effectiveness of the standard being used.

To Benchmark a product or service consider the following:

  • What do you want to measure?
  • Metrics against which you will measure (dimensions, performance, time, cost, social value)
  • Compare your or other products against the benchmark through a checklist
  • Produce a look-up table to identify patterns in the characteristics of each product or service being measured (see value analysis)

The outcomes of the comparison should enable financial risk or liability to be reduced. However, this technique is most suited to incremental development rather than disruptive Assistive Technology design. Disruptive AT design describes an innovation that helps create a new market or reframing of an existing market that ultimately disrupts and displaces the original market. This process may take years or even decades, depending on the technology involved.

Useful links

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]

Blacksmith approach

The term ‘blacksmith approach’ comes from a traditional way that people in the United Kingdom (UK) would have had things made. Blacksmiths were the product designers of the pre-industrial age. A villager would ask the blacksmith to make a new gate, for example; possibly standing by whilst it was fabricated. Designing for and with an individual who represents a larger population of end users has been found to be useful when considering niche markets.

This approach has a number of advantages:

  • The direct link between designer and end user ensures the design decision-making process results the minimum of iterative cycles of development;
  • The less well defined, qualitative, areas of aspirations for the product and desirability are also addressed;
  • There is an opportunity for end users to be made aware of design solutions they may not have previously considered;
  • Iterative design cycles, in the form of co-design, enable the optimum compromise to be achieved quickly; and,
  • The end user has a sense of ownership with the final design solution. 

A product design, or service, may be evaluated with a larger sample group once the design solution has been developed with the ‘product champion’ with the confidence that investment in this activity is cost-effective. The methods used to elicit information from the champion user are repeated with a larger sample group at an individual level. The efficacy of information gathering has been found to diminish when obtaining feedback within a group situation, such as when using a focus group strategy.

Useful links

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[23/09/2015]

Case Study

Case study is a research method involving in-depth and detailed examination of a subject of study (the case), within related contextual conditions or environments. (Cohen et al 2007: 34)

Case studies are suited to Assistive Technology Industrial Design (AT_ID) because they provide an information rich resource about a specific case subject (or lens) through which evidence is provided. The case may be focused on a specific activity (daily living task or way of designing), product (wheelchair, lifting hoist or cutlery) or market (people living with a specific condition). The structure of a case study is often considered as three different types:

  1. Key cases
  2. Outlier case
  3. Local Knowledge

The multiple methods of data collection and presentation provide some cross-referencing or triangulation of evidence. A mixed methods approach is suited for this application, where both qualitative research methods (individual’s opinions) and quantitative research methods (time to perform a task) may be applied. The combination of methods to be applied is dependent on the research question to be answered. The research question provides the lens for the review or study of the design activity.

Due to the fragmented AT market, it is difficult to apply generic market knowledge from what may be considered a niche market. Observation or discussion about the case may suggest or infer a more generic outcome. A case study from the same niche market may be directly relevant to a new product development.

Useful links

Cohen, L., Manion, L., Morrison, K., 2007. Research methods in Education (6th ed), Routledge, Abingdon.

Creswell, J. and Plano Clarke, V., 2007. Designing and conducting mixed methods research, Sage, Thousand Oaks.

Design Council, 2015, (Online) Buddi, Case study. Available at: (http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources/case-study/buddi), Accessed [22/09/2015]

Champion user

Choosing a product representative, or ‘champion’, has been found to be an effective way of identifying most of the issues relating to social and cultural functionality. It is critical that the chosen individual matches and reflects the larger population as closely as possible. The profile of the individual should match the defined medical condition, gender and age. 

The socio-economic background has been found to be less important; the impairment and resulting disability has often inhibited the persona and lifestyle of the individual. The choice of product champion may be limited, due to the small market size, locally, nationally and internationally. 

The value judgement of appropriateness of an individual to be the product champion against accessibility, in terms of time and distance, has to be made by the designer or team. From the author’s experience, it is better to have a local product champion and be aware the individual’s opinions may be skewed due to age, gender, and lifestyle, social and cultural environment.

Experts may also be ‘champion users’. These may be professionals from a specific practice, such as healthcare. These champion users are likely to have a very different viewpoint on what they want from an AT product or service. The application of interview, survey and blacksmith approach is advised; presenting the outcome of any qualitative survey (ranking or Likert scale) as a web diagram.

Useful links

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[23/09/2015]

Ethics

Before we explore design research methods and Design Heuristics in more detail, we must first discuss ethics.

Using an ethical approach to your research and design activities ensures the safety and well-being of your participants (people taking part in your activity), but also you and colleagues running the activity.

Larger organisations who take part in research involving human participants have a designated group or committee to review procedures (the recipe) used within any activities involving human participants. 

This group considers a number of issues:

  • Aim and objectives of the human-based activity, the research questions answered (is the work needed?).
  • Awareness of vulnerabilities of participant and activity operator / investigator.
  • Working with Young people and children.
  • Information for the participant regards the purpose of the activity.
  • A consent form.
  • Making payments to Participants.
  • Data protection.
  • Rigour, respect and responsibility of the operators / investigators.
  • Invasive / non-invasive.
  • Appropriate health and safety measures, including aftercare.

Ethical protocols should be followed with any design research inquiry.  There are a number of detailed references that provide guidance on the ways in which both participant and research operators can be safe guarded, and provide templates for an ethical approach to mixed research methods (Cohen et al 2007, Wilson et al 1995). 

Useful links

Council of International Organizations of Medical Sciences and World Health Organisation, International Ethical Guidelines: (http://www.cioms.ch/publications/layout_guide2002.pdf)

World Medical Association, declaration of Helsinki (originally signed in 1964), is a statement of agreed principles to applied in medical and research practice:

(http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/)

A full ethical approval form can be found at the following website:

(http://www.lboro.ac.uk/admin/committees/ethical/)

Cohen, L., L.Mannion, and K.Morrison 2007. Research methods in education. 6th ed. London, New York: Routledge.

Wilson, J. R., and E. N. Corlett. 1995. Evaluation of human work: A practical ergonomics methodology. 2nd ed. London: Taylor & Francis.

Literature review

“A literature review is a systematic, explicit, and reproducible method for identifying, evaluating, and synthesising the existing body of completed and recorded work produced by research, scholars, and practitioners.” 

(Fink 2005: 3)

A conventional review approach to the ‘state-of-the-art’ in a given field involves reading, listening and watching a range of media. The forms of literature include:

  • Primary (direct source);
  • Secondary (interpreted source); and,
  • Reference source (background or overview of sources).

A review is constrained by time and available resources during the specific study period. A ‘screen’ may be used to put limitations on a large amount of available literature. A ‘practical screen’ may include:

  • Language;
  • Date of publication;
  • Setting for the study; and,
  • The format of outcomes.

A ‘methodological screen’ involves defining your criteria for evaluating the study’s coverage or scope and its quality. (Fink 2005: 3-5)

An iterative cycle of trawling (wide review) and mining (following specific authors or journals) of literature may be applied (Hart 2001:29). Keywords used when undertaking a Boolean (and or) search. Truncation, using an * symbol to complete the word or term, was also used, using computer search engines.

Useful links

Fink, A., 2005. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.

Hart, C., 2002. Doing a literature search: Releasing the social science research imagination, Sage, London.

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[23/09/2015]

Torrens, GE and Black, K (2011) Equipment design in inclusive physical activity and disability sport. In Riobas, AC, Stamatakis, E, Black, K (ed) Design for Sport, Gower, pp.153-178, Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/9025), Accessed: [21/01/2021]

Torrens, G.E., 2018. The order and priority of research and design method application within an assistive technology new product development process: a summative content analysis of 20 case studies. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 13(1), pp.66-77.Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/9025), Accessed: [21/01/2021]

Literature review pathway. Torrens 2017

Loughborough User Centered Assistive Technology (LUCAT) design process

The LUCAT process is a streamlined collection of design, engineering, ergonomics and human factors theory and best practice in User-Centred Design (UCD) brought together to enable time-compressed market research and evidence-based design decision-making. The process concept was based on Torrens’ experience of working in the field of AT product design since 1986. He then refined the process and through further research studies between 2010-2020, has significantly expanded the methods and heuristics into the current LUCAT process.

LUCAT was developed through a practice-based, bottom-up participatory approach within AT product design, informed by Ergonomics and Human Factors theory. The research programme that underpinned the LUCAT process initially defined a suitable approach. This was based on the conventions of design innovation, the fast time-compressed and iterative cycle of participatory design, and best practice from small batch production design engineering.

These initial methods and heuristics were augmented by additional research into best practice relating to optimum formats of communication to be used by new product developers; principles from social sciences and psychology; and, applied within a mixed methods research approach.

Useful links

Torrens, G., 2011. Universal design: empathy and affinity. IN: Karwowski, W., Soares, M.M. and Stanton, N.A. (eds). Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Product Design. Boca Raton, Fl: CRC Press, pp. 233 – 248. Available at: (DOI: 10.1201/9780429143946), Accessed [21/01/2021]


Torrens, G.E., 2017. The order and priority of research and design method application within an assistive technology new product development process: a summative content analysis of 20 case studies. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 13(1), pp.66-77. Available at: (DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2017.1280547), Accessed [21/01/2021]

Torrens, G.E., 2018. Dialogue Appropriate to Assistive Technology Product Design: A Taxonomy of Communication Formats in Relation to Modes of Sensory Perception. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, 3(4), pp.262-276. Available at: (DOI: 10.1016/j.sheji.2018.01.001), Accessed [21/01/2021]

Market characterisations

The methods and tools used in this activity have a natural grouping that collect information to inform decision-making (red) and those which help make design-decisions (blue). The method may be considered to fit within the category of a mixed methods approach as defined by Creswell (Creswell 2006, Creswell and Plano-Clark 2009). 

The starting point for any new product development is defining the need and characterising the market the range of individuals within it.  Organisations such as National statistics offices (National Statistics Office 2015) the World Health Organisation (WHO 2015) hold useful data relating to the numbers of people with impairment or who may be considered disabled.  Once a market size has been established the choice of methods of manufacture may be narrowed.

Useful links

Creswell, J.W., 2009. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 3rd ed. Sage, London.

Creswell, J.W. and Plano-Clark, V.L., 2006. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage, London.

National Statistics Office. 2015. National Statistics Office (Available from: http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/HTMLDocs/dvc235/index.html), Accessed: [23/09/2015]

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[23/09/2015]

Torrens, GE and Black, K (2011) Equipment design in inclusive physical activity and disability sport. In Riobas, AC, Stamatakis, E, Black, K (ed) Design for Sport, Gower, pp.153-178, Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/9025), Accessed: [21/01/2021]

World Health Organisation, 2012. WHO, (available from: www.who.int/en). Accessed:[23/09/2015]

Shows the context for some of the methods used within the LAT-UD (LUCAT) methodology. Torrens 2012

Minimising financial and liability risk

Minimising financial risk may be considered to be an overarching generic objective of any business. However, there are perceived barriers for a business to invest in an assistive technology products or services. Young and Sandhu (1990) highlighted some of the issues raised by businesses when considering developing assistive technology products. These included:

  • a disparate and fragmented market.
  • low level investment attracted into a perceived ‘niche market
  • higher litigation risk.
  • multiple stakeholders involved in purchasing.

These concerns are more apparent when enabling sports products, for example, inherently help their user to push themselves to the limits of their abilities, with the associated risk of injury. This compounds the perception of the market having a higher risk of litigation.

Decisions made about the product design specification (PDS) should be based on information or evidence collected. It is important that the emphasis of the product specification and subsequent design is based on the athlete or sportsperson. This is known as evidence-based and user- centred design.  Ergonomics and human factors provide appropriate strategies and methods by which these principles may be implemented, integrated with good design practice.

Most of the elements of a NPD described here lead to reduced cycles of development by providing evidence of the potential need and desirability of the realised product. Threats from litigation can be minimised through rigorous, iterative cycles of evaluation and that products are tested through independent test houses or laboratories to ensure the design audit trail.  Following the guidelines of BS EN ISO 7000-1: 2008 (British Standards Institute 2008) for design and engineering management, in whatever simplified form, is good working practice.  There is also a sub-section relating to design for inclusivity BS EN ISO 7000-6: 2005 (British Standards Institute 2005). Advantages of this practice include:

  • Evidence-based, transparent decision-making within the NPD documented;
  • Enables other or new design team members to have empathy with past design decisions;
  • Demonstrates all due care has been taken in the design, if litigious action taken at a later date;
  • Provides proof of originality in the event of a dispute over intellectual property rights (IPR); and,
  • Enables potential investors to assess the products in which they may invest.

Useful links

British Standards Institute, 2008. BS 7000-1:2008 Design Management Systems. Guide to Managing Innovation, London

British Standards Institute, 2005. BS 7000-6:2008 Design Management Systems. Managing inclusive design Guide, London

Her Majesty’s Government Office, (online), 2015. Product Liability and safety law, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/product-liability-and-safety-law), Accessed):[ 23/09/2015]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[23/09/2015]

Young C, Sandhu J. 1995. An examination of the British Assistive Technology SME’s and their potential within the single European market, The European context for Assistive Technology, 2nd TIDE Congress, IOS, Oxford. 183-187

Mixed methods

Mixed research methods provide a more comprehensive set of data upon which to make design decisions.  This method is a combination of qualitative research strategies complementing quantitative research activities, which together provide a more complete body of valuable data.

Useful links

Creswell, J.W., 2009. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 3rd ed. Sage, London.

Creswell, J.W. and Plano-Clark, V.L., 2006. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage, London.

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [21/01/2021]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[21/01/2021]

Torrens, GE and Black, K (2011) Equipment design in inclusive physical activity and disability sport. In Riobas, AC, Stamatakis, E, Black, K (ed) Design for Sport, Gower, pp.153-178, Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/9025), Accessed: [21/09/2021]

Observation

Observation is the recording of the natural world, often associated with a science-based (positivic) approach to research. Observation is qualitative, until some form of metric or recording mechanism is introduced. It may be counting a change in phenomena over a set period of time. (Wilson et al 2002:69-73) Observation is also part of ethnography, which is primarily interpretation of the real-world. (Cohen et al 2007: 166-190)

Formal research methods of observation and interview have been found to offer the most cost-effective ‘snap-shot’ of the needs and aspirations of the end user. Task analysis, alongside interview, will provide the designer with much of the information required to gain enough insight to propose a design solution. The observation may be remotely from a video tape or key moments in a task recorded via photographs or even annotated stick figures. Teleconferencing, email or social chat software, such as Skype, may be used to discuss issues. It should be noted that ethical use of social networks as a focus for research is an up and coming issue, as it has not been rigorously ‘policed’; being such a recent phenomenon.

The translation from observation through human senses or machine sensors can lead to bias, through the choice of coding or measure. Bias can also be introduced through observers ‘see what they expect to see’; their interpretation being influenced towards confirmation of the observer’s hypothesis or background motivation for the study. A combination of human and machine observations (video recording) can be used to cross-reference data collection and analysis.

Other methods that use or may be combined with observation are:

  • Task analysis
  • Scientific experiment
  • Ethnography
  • Participatory design
  • Interview

Useful links

Cohen, L., L.Mannion, and K.Morrison 2007. Research methods in education. 6th ed. London, New York: Routledge.

Creswell, J.W. and Plano-Clark, V.L., 2006. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage, London.

Langford, J., McDonagh, D., 2003. Focus groups supporting effective product development. Taylor & Francis, London.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., Butler, J., 2003. Universal principles of design: 100 ways to enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design, Rockport, Gloucester.

Martin, B., Hanington, B., 2012. Universal methods of design: 100 ways to research complex problems, develop innovative ideas, and design effective solutions, Rockport, Beverly.

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]

Torrens, GE and Black, K (2011) Equipment design in inclusive physical activity and disability sport. In Riobas, AC, Stamatakis, E, Black, K (ed) Design for Sport, Gower, pp.153-178, Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/9025), Accessed: [23/09/2015]

Wilson, J. R., and E. N. Corlett. 1995. Evaluation of human work: A practical ergonomics methodology. 2nd ed. London: Taylor & Francis.

Participatory action research

Participatory research instils a sense of ownership in the end user and stakeholders.  It empowers end users to be more outspoken about their needs and aspirations.  Involving all parties at an early stage enables a designer to cost-effectively recruit participants and support for the longer-term design and evaluation of a new product.

The term ‘mixed research methods’ advocated in this chapter are a collection of methods where quantitative (grip strength, anthropometry) and qualitative data (opinions, comments, emotional responses) are collected from within the context of a ‘happening’ or phenomenon, (e.g. a design process).

Case study is a good example of the application of mixed methods research within a New Product development. It is considered by many to be primarily a qualitative recording of an ‘instance’ (observed activities); however, it can have other quantitative metrics, such as task performance outcomes and physical measurements (such as increase co-efficient of friction at a handle interface).

Useful links

Kemp , J.A.M., and van Geldren, T., 1996. Co-discovery exploring: An informal method for iteratively designing consumer product. Usability evaluation in industry, (eds.) Jordan, P.W., Tomas, B., Weerdmeester B.A., and McClelland. I. L., Taylor & Francis, London.

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [21/01/2021]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[21/01/2021]

Torrens, GE and Black, K (2011) Equipment design in inclusive physical activity and disability sport. In Riobas, AC, Stamatakis, E, Black, K (ed) Design for Sport, Gower, pp.153-178, Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/9025), Accessed: [21/01/2021]

Physical characterisation

Physical characterisation is in the form of specific anthropometric dimensions related to the product and stature (as a reference measure; grip strength; and, some range of motion (ROM) measurements. A screening questionnaire can also lead into gaining more information about the participant’s past experience of the product or service and define their associated medical condition.

The measurements taken may be cross-referenced with the quality of performance, as measured/observed through Task analysis (Wilson and Corlett 1995).

The cross-referencing of physical characteristics and performance may lead to predictive modelling of a user, task, environment (UTE).

Useful links

Open Ergonomics Ltd. 2015, (online). PeopleSize  2008, Available at: (http://www.openerg.com/psz/index.html). Accessed: [23/09/2015].

Pheasant, S., Haslegrave, C.M., 2006. Bodyspace, anthropometry, ergonomics and the design or work (3rd ed), Taylor & Francis, London.

Wilson, J. R., and E. N. Corlett. 1995. Evaluation of human work: A practical ergonomics methodology. 2nd ed. London: Taylor & Francis.

Tichauer, E.R., 1978. The biomechanical basis of ergonomics, anatomy applied to the design of work situations, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Presentation boards

Presentation boards within Industrial design are a vehicle for the delivery of a concise description of:

  • The product or service functional performance (satisfying need) and social/cultural coding (satisfying want).
  • The user, task and environment in which the product will be placed.
  • The background sources that have influenced the final design.
  • The development and decision-making process for the product or service from concept to realised detail design.

Current conventions for communication format include:

  • Plain, neutral/white background;
  • San Serif font
  • ‘Hero shot’ for product description, where one illustration is larger than others on the page;
  • Full illustrations, with floating text/log;
  • For UK/western reading styles, visual elements are ordered and prioritised ‘top down’ and ‘right to left’.

Useful links

Powell, D., 1990. Presentation Techniques: A Guide to Drawing and Presenting Design Ideas, Little Brown, London.

Sketching

Sketches are primarily used by designers as a method of realising ideas or concepts. They are often hand drawn, quickly produced (in seconds) and cost-effective within a new product development process. Sketches can be used within an on-going dialogue as a focus for the conversation. A combination of words, diagrams, illustrations and flow arrows can provide a cost-effective way of enabling all within a group to receive the same message about a new product or service’s attributes.

Sketches can also be used to:

  • Record an event or phenomenon (Task analysis, ethnography);
  • Record a place (archaeological reference);
  • Communicate a specific statement that is technical (engineering drawing convention, circuit diagram) or descriptive (proportion /scale, shape, texture, colour) to another;
  • Translate an abstract concept (words thoughts) into a realised artefact (object, illustration);
  • Describe to others a mechanism or system with movement or process;
  • Used as part of an on-going formal (to engineering conventions) or informal (descriptive) conversation with others about a requirement or aspiration; and,
  • Act as evidence of decision-making within an audit trail of due care and dates of the generation of intellectual property.

Useful links

Downs, S. 2011. The Graphic Communication Handbook (Media Practice), Routledge,  London.

Duff, L., Sawdon, P., 2008. Drawing: the purpose, Intellect, Bristol. Available at: (https://mangodrawingsatuni.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/leo_duff_phil_sawdon_drawing_-_the_purposebookzz-org.pdf) , Accessed: [5/10/2015]

Stakeholder maps

When investigating the professional characteristics and opinions of other fund holders and stakeholders, a group participatory approach is required. This group are influential in the purchase decision-making, particularly in the UK where care service provision is predominantly provided by the Government.

The relationship of stakeholders may be shown/ realised through Mind mapping and Web diagram.

Useful links

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[23/09/2015]

Torrens, GE and Black, K (2011) Equipment design in inclusive physical activity and disability sport. In Riobas, AC, Stamatakis, E, Black, K (ed) Design for Sport, Gower, pp.153-178, Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/9025), Accessed: [23/09/2015]

Teleconferencing

Teleconferencing is linked to surveys, interview and participatory or co-design. These formats of  research and design are used to gain information from an individual or a larger population.

Teleconferencing is often regarded with suspicion, associated with scams similar to telephone sales, which is something the operator must dispel early in any correspondence during recruitment.

Advantages

  • Two-way conversations between people at a distance.
  • Conversations with vulnerable participants.
  • Brings together groups of people who would find it difficult to otherwise meet.
  • Distribution of a consistent message to a working group.
  • To get results/consensus on a specific action.
  • Can be used as an alternative to a physical focus group meeting.

Disadvantages

  • Teleconferencing does not include body language.
  • Video conferencing may be biased due to moderators or other external influence off-camera.
  • Requires time to organise people to attend a time and place.
  • May be expensive.

Useful links

Cohen, L., L.Mannion, and K.Morrison 2007. Research methods in education. 6th ed. London, New York: Routledge.

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15737), Accessed: [7/11/2015]

Wilson, J. R., and E. N. Corlett. 1995. Evaluation of human work: A practical ergonomics methodology. 2nd ed. London: Taylor & Francis.

Universal design principles

The term universal design has been defined by Christophersen (2002) as:

“The Design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without adaption or specialized design” (sic)

In addition, there are seven principles promoted by Christophersen alongside the definition of Inclusive design; they are:

  1. Equitable Use;
  2. Flexibility in Use;
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use;
  4. Perceptible Information;
  5. Tolerance for Error;
  6. Low Physical Effort; and,
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use.

Inclusive design is predominantly used within the UK to describe similar aspirations for the values underpinning a chosen design process.  Internationally there are many other titles given to this field of NPD: design for all; transgenerational design; design for the third age; and, barrier free design.

Now that definitions are in place within which the principles described may be applied, attention should be turned to the strategies and design tools available for use within this field and highlighting those the author have found to provide effective results and to be most cost effective. Efficacy is often considered within healthcare and for a designer or team to provide metrics and evidence of efficacy of the new product or service is vital for success in this conservative market.  These tools are applied within an activity pattern constrained by time and resources, as shown in the Usability-NET process map. Although only one route for an iterative cycle has been shown, reflection and revisiting will happen throughout the process. The number of iterative cycles that may be undertaken is constrained by time and resources.

Useful links

Christophersen, J. and Norske stats husbank. 2002. Universal design: 17 ways of thinking and teaching. Husbanken, Oslo

Design Council, (online), 2015. Silver linings: Design for an… Available at: (http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/silver-linings-designing-active-third-age), Accessed: [21/01/2021]

Pirkl, J.J., 1994. Trandgenerational design, products for an ageing population, van Norstrand Rehinhold, New York.

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[23/09/2015]

University of the Third Age (online), 2015. Available at: (http://www.u3a.org.uk/), Accessed:[23/09/2015]

World Health Organisation, (online), 2015. WHO, (available from: (www.who.int/en). Accessed:[23/09/2015]

User, task, environment

The use of a user, task and environment (UTE) provides a designer with a starting point and contextual frame within which further evidence may be place. This can be used in conjunction with Brainstorming and Mind mapping.

The user may also involve other stakeholders who will influence the requirements list and the balance of insights generated from interview and observation.

The task may be a physical function or cognitive process that results in a decision or choice.

Environment may be the physical environment within which the task and user are placed or a social structure within which the individual uses the abstract societal rules to deliver behaviours, decisions or actions.

Useful links

Poulson D, Ashby M and Richardson SJ (eds.) (1996) USERfit. A practical handbook on user centred design for assistive technology. HUSAT Research Institute for the European Commission. Available from: (http://www.education.edean.org/index.php?row=3&filters=f16&cardIndex=21). Accessed:[23/09/2015]

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/b10950-19), Accessed: [23/09/015]

Torrens, G.E., 2012. Assistive Technology product to Universal design: A way forward, Design For All India, 7 (7), pp.182-205 Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/15736), Accessed:[23/09/2015]

Torrens, GE and Black, K (2011) Equipment design in inclusive physical activity and disability sport. In Riobas, AC, Stamatakis, E, Black, K (ed) Design for Sport, Gower, pp.153-178, Available at: (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/9025), Accessed: [23/09/2015]