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Wk 5 research in industrial design

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  • 1. Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 2. Introduction• Since the beginnings of the industrial design profession, designers have had the option of conducting their own field research and have been influenced by other professions (e.g. marketing, human factors, social sciences) Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 3. • Industrial designers have been conducting field research as part of the design process
  • 4. Field Research• Field research is a general term that can be used to describe many different kinds of research activity that bring the designer (or design team members) into direct contact with the customer.• In the context of industrial design, field research can be defined as ‘activities during the product development process where the designer gathers information about the user while in the user’s environment-which then can be used to influence product design’ (Arnold, 2005) Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 5. • According to Rothstein (1999) – field research is about studying culture and human behaviour, field research is part art and science, and field research involves a method.• This method consists of phases: – Research design – Data collection – Analysis – reporting Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 6. • Arnold Wasserman suggest that ‘field research based design tends to foster better solutions to design problems and reduces risk of the product failing on the market’• It also helps to justify the high cost of development that a company must invest in order to proceed wit product development. Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 7. Implementation of field research by era• Era 1 (Beginnings – 1955-1964) – Marked with limited formal integration of field research into design process. – Form of field research undertaken were • Less formal • Less structured • Not as well articulated as research conducted by many scientific research professional – Some industrial designer s included human factors in the design process (e.g. field work, in-house user testing) Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 8. • Industrial design has had close ties with marketing research (e.g. Fleishman, 1958)• Marketing reaserch undertaken by external firms, internal staff researcher, and even conducted by themselves.• When conducting research by themselves, industrial designers used simple methods such as consulting literature, site visit (product used or sold), interviews, and consulting experts in the field of inquiry. Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 9. • Era 2 (Progress- 1965-1975) – Some industrial designers continued to incorporate and/ or accept field research into the design process. – However, some persisted that the use of rigorous scientific methods of research may limit a designer’s creativity and intuitive responses to design problems, and that industrial designers should allow subjective feelings to override research (Bowen, 1964; Burridge, 1972). Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 10. • Designers have been increasingly engaged in field research in order to apply research to real world design problems.• However, the ‘art vs science’ conflict and the differing goals of researchers and designers spurred criticisms that many (industrial) designers did not recognize the importance of human, social, and psychological aspects of products; and that designers lacked credible methods of dealing with research data. Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 11. • There was a call during this era for more integration of the social sciences in design research. Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 12. • Era 3 (Convergence and Development – 1976- 1989) – This era marked by an increase awareness, on the part of some product developers, that other professions were needed in the design process. – A strong interdisciplinary activity, with regard to filed research, occurred during this time. – The sophistication of field research methodologies employed by design teams developed significantly. Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 13. • Companies began to think about user needs by considering questions such as: – How will the product be used? – What are people going to think? – What context will the product be used in? – What other things are people are going to be using when they use the product? Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 14. • Era 4 (Application and Standardization -1990- 2005) – Many companies and firms incorporated field research methodolgies into design process – Field research conducted by industrial designers has become more standardized. – Wasserman namely this new standard as ‘new design’. – New design is a research based design – whereas ‘old design’ is a more artistic or intuitive based approach. Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 15. Barrier in implementing field research• Benefits are not always easily seen or tangible. – It produces ideas, words, indications of feelings and attitudes-rather than concrete artifact that more simpler to manipulate and more readily understood.• Much work and time to get useful information about users – In product development, time is a critical factor of success. – The quick supply of usable information that can serve as guidelines for design is necessary. Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal
  • 16. • A lack of knowledge and experience in translating research findings into actionable design guidelines. – Designers are not typically trained in research methodology and should be either trained or collaborate with trained professionals in multi disciplinary teams. Dr Aede Hatib Musta’amal

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