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N Sutton June 2007 Generic
International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)
Topic 6 Product Design (5 hours approx. 4 lessons)
Name: Product Design TG:
Anthropometrics The aspect of ergonomics that deals with body
measurements, particularly those of size, strength and
Ergonomics The application of scientific information concerning the
relationship of human beings to the design of objects,
systems and environments.
Fashion Defined as a style or trend.
Percentile range That proportion of a population with a dimension at or less
than a given value.
Planned obsolescence A conscious act either to ensure a continuing
market or to ensure that safety factors and new
technologies can be incorporated into later
versions of the product.
Look at the powerpoint presenatation on Ergonomics: Core Topic 6 Intro
Any designer will require exact information about materials, structures, tolerances
etc. However in the past when it came to information about the people who would
be using the products, designers relied on common sense.
The relatively new study of people in order to design products and systems,
which are better adapted to human capabilities, is known as ergonomics.
A combination of the Greek ergon (meaning work) and nomia (meaning
management of organisation) H.Murrell (1940)
“The fit between man and machine”
“The interface between humans and their environment”
The discipline of Ergonomics traditionally covers all aspects of the
interface, i.e. physiological, psychological and sociological.
Because of this the term “human-factor engineering” is being used as it
focuses on anthropometric data and usability studies. This helps to aid the
process of making products easier to use, safer and better matched to the
Ergonomists are scientists who have specialised in the study of the interface
between people and the things they come into contact with—particularly
Ergonomists are likely to be involved in the manufacture of vehicles (cars,
aeroplanes, and bicycles), household products (kitchen equipment, toys,
computers, and furniture), clothing (shoes, sportswear, and jumpers) and
many other products.
DEFINITION: “The study of the measurements of the human body”
It is therefore that part of ergonomics which deals with body measurement,
particularly size, strength and physical capacity. It was developed by Henry Dreyfus in
the USA in the 1940/50’s.
To be universally effective, anthropometrics are used to describe the “user” or
“target population” for a particular product.
Having data available on these groups takes the guesswork out of designing.
Basic statistical information is used to interpret these data, e.g. Percentile
Today, designers and engineers rely on anthropometric data (body
measurements) and experimental usability studies, to aid the process of making
products easier to understand, safer to use, and better matched to the human body.
The elderly, children, and disabled people are special groups with which ergonomic
analysis may be concerned.
1. In your booklet, draw a normal curve of distribution showing the
median and the 5th, 50th and 95th percentiles.
Draw another graph showing a skewed distribution and explain why
this might be so.
A “percentile” is a unit comprising 100th of the population.
Many products are designed to be used by the users who fall between the 5th
and the 95th percentile. List some examples.
Some products, are designed for the 50th percentile and therefore all tend to
be the same height. List some examples.
Some products are made adjustable, so they ‘fit’ a bigger percentile range.
List some examples.
The graph shows the percentile range for the height of
girls aged 2 – 18.
VIDEO: How good design can improve lives
Server - All staff drive
Z:DepartmentsTechnologyD&T VCD'sDesign 4 Life
Dietary Reference Values (DRVs)
Meaningful estimates of nutritional requirements must take account of the
distribution of requirements within a population or group. To achieve this, the
COMA panel used four Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) (Figure 1). DRVs are
estimates of the requirements for groups of people and are not recommendations
or goals for individuals.
Estimated Average Requirement (EAR): This is an estimate of the average
requirement for energy or a nutrient - approximately 50% of a group of people
will require less, and 50% will require more. For a group of people receiving
adequate amounts, the range of intakes
will vary around the EAR.
Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI): The RNI
is the amount of a nutrient that is enough
to ensure that the needs of nearly all the
group (97.5%) are being met. By
definition, many within the group will need
Another everyday situation is the design of
workstations which requires the application
of anthropometric and ergonomic data.
VCR has provided a sample of relevant
data taken from the Marine Corps study
(listed above) and other sources. VCR added the information for the angle of sight
(Z) from various sources that recommended angles between 5 and 15 degrees.
For simplicity VCR shows the popiteal height (F) measured to the same baseline
as the compressed seat height. To adjust for shoe height, add 25 mm for men or
45 mm for women (1).
5% 50% 95% 5% 50% 95%
A 690 743 795 739 795 850
B 181 226 266 188 235 274
C 406 439 479 447 482 520
D 438 478 525 458 499 544
E 540 585 637 569 616 665
F 352 388 428 395 434 476
G 474 513 558 515 559 605
All measurements in mm. (A) Eye height sitting (B) Elbow rest height (C)
Forearm-hand length (D) Buttock-popiteal length (E) Buttock-knee length (F)
Popiteal height - no shoes (G) Knee height sitting - no shoes.
VCR = http://www.valuecreatedreview.com/design.htm
5 (1) Ergonomics by Stephen Pheasant
1. As a class group, record the height of each person and determine
the average height for the group.
2. Compare this to the 50 th percentile range for the height of girls/boys
3. Research the height of kitchen work surfaces in Ikea. Are they all
the same or do they vary?
4. Discuss/show diagrams of any good design features you find, e.g.
adjustable heights to meet individual needs
5. Compare your findings from Ikea to the average class height. Can
you draw any conclusions?
6. Identify a specific design context where a designer would use
percentile ranges for particular user groups. e.g. children’s toy
Individuals react differently to sensory stimuli. Efficiency and comfort are
affected by such factors. A designer must be aware of the effects that
temperature, sound, light, taste, smell and colour form on the perceptions of
users and how they influence the designed environment.
Temperature Heating conditions in work and leisure, comfort zones e.g.
supermarket/restaurant temperatures that are comfortable for
Sound Supermarkets carefully choose music that is ‘easy listening’ to
try to improve the mood of the consumer while shopping
Light Lighting in workplaces, safety. E.g. effects of florescent.
Lighting effect on ambience and mood e.g. lighting in
restaurants – gentle, calming, stimulating.
Texture Appreciation of textile qualities and their applications in design
situations. e.g. smoothness of kitchen work surfaces for
reasons of hygiene, tiles on a factory floor (i.e. roughened
surface to prevent slipping).
Colours Effects on emotions. e.g. sense of `warmth' and `coldness'
i.e. `warm' red/orange/yellow ‘cool' violet/green/blue. The use
and application of such knowledge in the designed
environment. e.g. decoration, symbols,
Smell/ Taste Aroma dispensers to provide an expected smell (e.g. fresh bread,
coffee odours in supermarkets) or to mask other odours e.g.
cigarette smoke in bars.
Collecting data related to psychological factors is a matter of perception.
Individuals will differ in their response to the same question even if the variable is
the same. E.g. one person will find a room temperature comfortable while another
person will find it uncomfortable, though the temperature is the same.
The items that we as humans need to lead a full satisfying life are many
and diverse in nature. The following hierarchical order the five categories
of human need and give an example of each.
1) Physiological needs - hunger, thirst, sleep
2) Safety - defense, shelter
3) Belonging and love needs - affection, friendship
4) Esteem needs - Self respect, confidence, prestige
5) Need for self-actualisation - fulfillment, creativity, and
Bodily tolerances, such as fatigue and comfort will affect ergonomics. E.g.
The controls for a machine may be designed for correct reach but, if in
constant use, may cause fatigue and inefficiency. A car seat may be
comfortable for short journeys but not for long journeys.
Maslov’s Heirachy of Needs
The Designer and Society
Planned Obsolescence -
A conscious act either to ensure a continuing market or to ensure that safety
factors and new technologies can be incorporated into later versions of the
Planned, obsolescence is the description given to something that has been designed
to have a limited working life. Manufacturers may accelerate the obsolescence of a
product by introducing new, more desirable products or versions of the existing
product. E.g. Toasters, electric kettles, refrigerators, televisions, mobile phones.
The iPod is a great example. The original iPod and iPod nano were developed at the
same time however the nano was not released until years later!!
View the latest products online.
Consumers today expect product
innovations and tend to react favourably
to new features. This has an important
bearing on the usable life deliberately designed into a product, which in turn has a
significant effect on the costs to the manufacturer and ultimately on the price to the
consumer. Competition between manufacturers of similar products naturally
accelerates the speed of changes made in those products.
The `Kleenex culture' Term used by Victor Papanek to describe the
throwaway material society that we all live in (man). The prevalence of
disposable nappies, gloves, knives, forks, plates etc. lead us into a culture that
demands products to be replaced once they have been used a limited number of
• Brainstorm the moral and social responsibilities of designers in relation
to green design issues.
Complete the following:
Advantages of planned obsolescence to consumers
Disadvantages of planned obsolescence to consumers
Advantages of planned obsolescence to manufacturers
Disadvantages of planned obsolescence to manufacturers
Explain how planned obsolescence influences the design specification
of a product. Consider materials and construction, durability and ease
Fashion can be defined as a style or trend.
Some examples of using a trend for the sale or promotion of products are given.
Can you think of others?
1. McDonald’s Happy Meals – use latest kid’s films to promote their product
through packaging and giveaways. The promotion is linked to the length
of time a film is a new release, therefore it is planned obsolescence.
2. Children’s sweets and cadies developed to relates to a film e.g. Nemo
3. Thomas the Tank Engine/ Hello Kitty/Disney children style plates, cups,
lunch boxes. Some of these can be planned obsolescence and others a
fashion or trend. A Disney product may use the latest Disney film which
will have a shorter product life cycle than Thomas the tank Engine for
4. Go to the Kellogg’s website to
check the latest promotions on
• Compare the influence of fashion and planned obsolescence on the product
cycle. N.B. Planned obsolescence has a definite timescale; fashion is less
predictable. Both may be present.
How does aesthetics affect the design of products? Under the headings
shape/form, colour and texture list a range of products and explain the
relevance of aesthetics to the design. E.g. additives, packaging,
buildings/bridges, MP3 players/iPod’s, PSP’s
• Colour - Below is an example of a home brand package for Taco shells
and a name brand. Which one would you buy? Why?
Home brand package
Name brand packages
List other examples specific to your option area.
• Shape/form – Comment on these two products as well as listing
Samsung SGH-P930 Mobile TV Phone
• Texture - Include pictures of products to help explain this heading.
A designer faces conflict when attempting to balance form and function. There is
often a tension between the aesthetic characteristics and functionality, aesthetic
characteristics and safety issues and aesthetic characteristics and cost or value
for money. To the consumer aesthetic considerations may outweigh functional
considerations at the point of sale. Additives,
• Evaluate the influence of fashion and planned obsolescence in relation to the
quality and value of a product. Consider whether quot;designerquot; products are
better quality than cheaper brands of the same product. Consider also the
values of a “throw away society”. Give examples in your answer.
• A designer faces conflict when attempting to balance form and function.
There is often a tension between the aesthetic characteristics and
functionality, aesthetic characteristics and safety issues and aesthetic
characteristics and cost or value for money. To the consumer aesthetic
considerations may outweigh functional considerations at the point of