4 Background information Design and technology projects should always be based on real and genuine needs. A user group needs to be identified and so does the context (the type of problem). The location will usually explain where the problem exists (geographically). By adding as much information to each column as you can and then circling the key aspects of each, you can build up an accurate picture to justify the need.User GroupIndividualFamilyOrganizationGroup of peopleContextPhysicalSportsFurnitureStorageLocationHomeWorkIndoorsOutdoorsThis presentation uses the production of an outdoor chair as an example project, but all activities are generic, and so can be applied to whichever project students are working on.
5 Analysis of the problem Before your mind gets solution-focused, it is worth spending some time thinking in detail about the design problem.A mind map is a good method to help you analyse the problem and you can use the information from the columns on the previous slide. Mind maps can help you generate lots of ideas in a short space of time.Add this information to your mind map too:other products which already perform a similar functionmaterials which may be suitableequipment and processes which could help you.
6 Mind mapping the problem You may wish to use a whiteboard pen to annotate and expand this mind map.How would you extend this mind map?
7 Why... What... Where... Who... Design brief A design brief is a vital part of your project because it is the starting point at which you begin to formulate your response to the design problem. A brief can be written in many ways but it should be a short paragraph which is simple and concise with the following essential information:why the product is neededwhat the product must dowhere the product will be usedwho will use the product.Why...What...Where...Who...
8 Product analysisBefore designing your own product, it is important to analyse other similar products.Look at what features a product has (the criteria it meets), and decide if these are essential to its function or not. Essential features are known as key criteria.Choose criteria that products meet, and compare them by giving them a score for each criterion.Decide which features are positives and negatives for each product, and which features are worth noting but don’t affect the products functionality.
9 Product analysis: deciding key criteria This, and subsequent interactive slides, could be used by students for their own projects and then captured using a screen dump and printed for portfolio use.
10 Product analysis: comparing products You may wish to take photos of the products you are comparing and display these on the whiteboard as students complete this activity.
13 Could you put these into a table and draw up a research plan? Researching is a vital skill for a designer. To research effectively you need to be able to collect, sort/edit and record specific information which will help you to design and make a successful product.Before beginning the research, you should look at your design brief and think about the following questions:What do I need to find out?Where can I find it out?How am I going to record and present the information?Could you put these into a table and draw up a research plan?
15 Primary researchPrimary research means finding out information directly from a source – it’s first hand information. When carrying out research, it is essential to ask yourself the following questions:Am I using a wide range of sources?Am I using primary and secondary research?Is my research appropriate and relevant?Does the information answer the questions posed in the research plan?Have I sorted through the body of information and highlighted the relevant bits?Can I explain how the research helps me to satisfy the brief?
16 SurveysSurveys are also known as questionnaires. When writing and conducting surveys:decide what information you need to find out – see your research planstart with some simple closed questionsuse multiple choice questions where possiblemake sure you ask the same questions to everyone so that your sample is validfinish with an open questionremember that it is the analysis of the questions that really matters.It is assumed that students have already been introduced to writing questionnaires and know how to write open and closed questions.
17 InterviewsConducting interviews can be a useful way to find out research information. However, it is important to remember that what you do with the information (editing and analysis) is more important than collecting it.Interview TIPS:decide what information you need to find outwrite out your questions beforehanddon’t try and write their answers – use a dictaphone to record and write laterwrite up the interview in full while it is still fresh in your mindgo through and highlight the important bits.
18 Writing lettersWriting letters can sometimes be useful providing you know the name, role and contact information of the person you need information from. Here are some guidelines about letter writing:explain who you are and what you need from thembe VERY specific about the information you needenclose a stamped, addressed envelope for the returnalways date the letterif posted first class, wait for four days and then follow up with a phone call to the person you addressed it toalways have a back-up plan for getting the informationconsider using (it’s quicker!) but apply the above principles.
19 Secondary researchSecondary research means finding out information that another person has already prepared – it already exists in one format or another.When conducting research, it is important not to simply cut out information, or copy whole sections of text and stick it into your folder. We call this ‘scissor research’ and it will be ignored. You must read, sort, highlight and edit your research so it is ready for analysis.Some people find it useful to keep an activity log or record of what they have researched. This is useful to keep accurate records of where and when you found specific information.
20 Internet searchesThe Internet is a huge source of information and images for secondary research. However, like any other research skill, it takes time, patience and practice to use it effectively.Use a recognized search engine (e.g. Google or ASK).Know what you want to find out.Use the advanced search option to narrow your results.Paste your results into a blank document.Always make a note of the website or information source.Set yourself a time limit for searches – if it’s not found within ten minutes, you’re unlikely to find it.
21 Newspaper/magazine searches Using newspapers and magazines can sometimes be useful for research purposes. However, it is important to avoid cutting out large amounts of images or text and sticking them into your portfolio. It is the quality of what you find, not the quantity, that counts.Look in weekend papers – especially the supplements from the broadsheets.Use a combination of image types and text.Always quote the source of your research.Think, “how does this image/text help me to design or make my product?”
22 Editing researchCollecting research is only the start of the process. To really make the most of the information you gather, it is vital to organize and process it.Organizing…Sort through all of the information. Put it into categories according to your research plan.Have a miscellaneous pile for anything that does not fit neatly into a category.Processing…Do not include whole reports or articles.Highlight relevant sections (especially key words, phrases or measurements) of text and cut off any excess.Mount the information into your portfolio so it is easy to read and access later.
23 Analysing researchResearch analysis shows the examiner that you have considered the impact of your research findings on the design and manufacture of your product. A good analysis of the research information needs to be completed before you can summarize it.Here are some analysis tips:annotate your edited research with commentshighlight sections of research and sketch/annotate your thoughtswrite a bullet pointed list of how the research affects your design thinkingattach some tracing paper over the relevant section and annotate over the top so the results are visible.
24 Research summaryThe research summary is an important part of the research. It brings together all of the important information you have found into one place, in a format that is easy to read and apply to your design thinking. Here are some tips for writing a research summary:show where the evidence is in your portfoliomake sure you have a good balance between primary and secondary research (not too much secondary!)make sure you know where you found the informationmake sure you understand why the information is important to yourefer back to the research plan – have you completed the research you set out to do?
25 Research summary – chart This chart can be used as a teaching aid to demonstrate how a research summary might be completed.
26 SpecificationA specification is a list of criteria that your design must meet. Specifications can be extremely detailed documents and it helps to consider some broad headings. They are best written as a bullet pointed list.FunctionDetail about what the product must doFormAesthetic, colour, shape, texture and proportion detailsSafetyAny relevant safety issues including international standardsErgonomicsHow will the product and user interact?CostCan you predict how much it might cost to a) make b) sell?DurabilityHow hardwearing will it need to be? Will it function in any extreme environments?MaintenanceHow long will it last? Are there any replaceable parts?Environmental issuesHow will your product deal with green issues?
28 Design ideasWith your design brief and specification close by, you are now ready to develop some initial ideas to solve the problem. As a professional designer, you should aim to design at least three different ideas for consideration.
29 Evaluating ideasHowever you choose to present your ideas, you will need to make it obvious that you have evaluated them. Here are some thoughts onhow you can evaluate your initial ideas. Remember that evaluation does not always have to be in written format;sketches and drawingsare just as effective.
30 How could you develop this idea to work in different ways? Choosing an ideaYou will need to show which design is the most suitable for development. You can do this in several ways but below is one method for you to think about:Spec PointIDEA123CommentsFunction45FormSafetyTOTAL8711How could you develop this idea to work in different ways?
32 Developing conceptsHow you develop your chosen idea is crucial if you are to make the most effective product. When developing ideas, we improve specific aspects of them. It is important to make sure that every aspect of your chosen idea is fully developed in detail according to your specification.The following is a list of things you should make sure you improve and thoroughly justify in the development:MaterialsErgonomicsAestheticsProportionsAssemblyProduction techniques
33 Developing concepts – discussions Your friends are a good source to bounce ideas off. When you are developing your ideas, you can ask them for their opinions and thoughts about how you might improve your chosen ideas. You can also ask potential users of the product about what they think can be developed. Use a table similar to this one:NAMEASPECT TO DEVELOPCHANGES/IMPROVEMENTS
34 Developing ideas – 4 x 4 activity The 4 x 4 activity uses other people’s ideas to develop your own ideas. Your original idea is in the centre of an A3 sheet.Stage 1Groups of 4 people.Person 1 improves an aspect of the productStage 2Each person then sketches or describes another improvementin these spaces.Stage 3Four minutes should be spent on each development.Stage 4Give the sheet back to the original person.
35 Modelling – CADComputer aided designing (CAD) is a good method to model and test your ideas. These chairs have been drawn using ProDesktop.
36 Modelling – CADBy using the modelling information, you will be able to quickly produce photo-realistic rendered images.MDFNaturalwoodInjectionmouldedpolypropylene
37 Modelling – CADMost CAD packages will be able to use the model information and automatically draw you an orthographic drawing in various formats. This will be needed for manufacturing.
39 Flow chartsFlow charts can be used to communicate the manufacturing process of our products. Arrows connect the shapes below to show the order of production stages.START/STOPDECISIONPROCESSCan you draw a flow chart to show the manufacturing process of a chair?
41 Production schedulesA production schedule is essential to ensure a good quality product. Always take a copy of your schedule into the manufacturing environment so that you have a plan to follow.Production schedules will enable you to think through all of the stages of manufacturing before you actually begin. It is also a way of showing that you have considered quality assurance procedures.A production plan will contain the following information:what the main stages of production arethe materials necessary for each stagethe equipment/resources necessary for each tasktime scales for each task.
43 Tolerances and critical dimensions Any project will have certain components or parts which have a critical dimension. A critical dimension is any measurement which has to be exactly right or an aspect of the product will fail. A tolerance is the amount you are willing to deviate from the critical dimension. Tolerances are usually described in percentages, e.g. ± 10% of the critical dimension.The following are some common critical dimensions:bearingsfriction fitting componentsmachined partscasing.Critical dimensions can be included on the production schedule.
44 Cutting listA cutting list is an important part of production planning. It enables you to plan and prepare exactly what materials you will use and their dimensions.PartMaterialQuantityLengthWidthThicknessDiameterMain bodyAcrylic1250mm200mm3mm-Stands2100mm20mm6mmOn the next slide you can fill in a cutting list for yourself.
48 Recording changesDuring manufacturing, you will need to show that you have recorded and justified any changes to your proposed solution. When justifying any changes, you need to make sure you explain what you changed, how you changed it and why you changed it. You could do this in a manufacturing diary like the this one.DatePhotoWhat you changedHow you changed itWhy you changed it
49 Photographic logIn your portfolio, you will also have to show examiners that you can use a variety of communication techniques. As well as hand drawn sketches, CAD and desktop publishing, you should also try and use a digital camera to capture images.A digital camera could be helpful for the following:providing evidence of research activitiesphotographing modelscapturing images of manufacturing progressshowing the product being testedphotographing users evaluating the product.
51 Types of testingThe BSI website includes examples of product tests and record sheets at
52 Evaluation of testingYour testing strategies will provide you with some information about how well your product performed under standard tests, user trials and visual inspection. You should try and compile some charts to show how well the product did under test conditions.Once you have the test information summarized, you are in a position to evaluate it. The evaluation is a reflection on how well the product performed.It is important that you establish why the product behaved and reacted the way it did in the tests, and that you are able to justify the results.
53 User evaluationUser views are essential if you are going to justify the effectiveness of your product to a mass market. You must ask several users to test your product and then evaluate its effectiveness. You could use a standard form as outlined below:DatePhotooftestingNameDescription of testingEvaluation of how well it performed
56 Modifications and changes Your testing strategies gave you objective evidence about the performance of your product.Based on your testing, the evaluations should enable you to think about why the product performed as it did.What went well and what did not go as planned?The next step is to suggest changes and modifications to your finished product, based on the results of testing and evaluation, which would improve the chances of the product becoming a commercial success.
57 Modifications and changes Think about the following:Are any changes necessary to make the product suitable for mass production?Could different (more appropriate?) materials be used?Can I use any standard components?Could I buy in more parts or components?Can I change the design to reduce the cost of manufacturing?Could the production method be different?Could I use jigs, moulds and formers to make identical products?Could I automate any stages of the manufacturing process by using CAM?