Project Designing for Specific Users
Industrial Design Bachelor Program
University of Twente, 2021
On this website you can discover our findings of module 7. Project Designing for Specific Users. We will take you through our steps of how we got to our final product. Starting with defining our goal and design challenge. Then we conducted a context mapping study. We will introduce the design and co-design methods that we used. We will take you through the user interaction and the prototype. We will show the evaluation and present our next steps. We will conclude by presenting ourselves.
Enjoy our website!
CONTEXT MAPPING STUDY
During this module we are tasked with co-designing with Stef, a 19-year old man with Achondroplasia. Therefore, in this study we want to familiarise ourselves with the disability, its impacts and its past and how co-designing and human-centered-design could be applied, by researching these aspects. We aim to get an insight into Stef’s disability and how we should work with it and use this knowledge as a starting point of our project.
In this study you read about Achondroplasia, co-designing and Human Centered Design and how to apply these while designing for our participant Stef. These design methods are important tools, which can improve lives and empower specific target groups oneself might not belong to.
After interviewing Stef we decided with him that we want to make him feel empowered by enabling him to navigate throughout his daily life like an average person.
The goal of the current project is to create a meaningful design that will help the co-designer on their future endeavours. The goal of our project team is to create a design that will help a particular person with Dwarfism in their day to day life. The group decided it would go into the direction of giving the person a little more height.
WHAT IS OUR GOAL?
The state of the design challenge at the mid-term presentation was as follows:
A product that gives 30 centimeters of height, it should fit into a “Padded Pak’r” Eastpak and should be set up in 15s. It should also have enough stability to stand on for extended periods of time.
In this project the group emphasized on co-design and made sure the opportunity of designer to user connection did not go to waste. The co-designer with Dwarfism was enthusiastic and helped the group where necessary by contributing in meetings and answering questions. The co-designer even helped with ideation at a ‘playdate’. For group 1 co-designing helped out with product design and working out the details to the likes of the co-designer. More information on every part of co-designing can be found in the document about Co-design methods and results.
The product created by group 1 is one of extra stature, literally.
The product gives the user 25 centimeters of extra height in a condensed package that can be taken to the bar, club, supermarket or a festival. With a smart foldable system the user sets up the product in a few steps and can use it instantly. Once it is time to go or the user is done with the product the same steps can be taken backwards to fold the product back to it’s smaller state.
The product consists of 3 layers. The bottom and top plate and the foldable connection in between. Cutouts have been made in the connection to make the product lighter, but to keep the stability intact diagonal trusses have been used. Cutouts in the top plate make sure the diagonal structure fits in and keeps the top plate in the same position.
The design process used by group 1 is quite close to the ‘traditional’ design process taught to us by the IDE program. Only exception is that the group worked closely with a co-designer.
The process started off by doing research on Dwarfism and looking into the struggles of our co-designer. The combination of this led to brainstorming that resulted in design directions. One of the two design directions was chosen for the project.
Ideation on ideas was done, after which a couple ideas were chosen and voted on, landing the group their final idea. Ideation was done on design for this idea which resulted in 3 concepts. Again a vote was held and the concept that was to be prototyped arised. The co-designer was at every vote.
In order to ensure a product of high quality and compatibility it is necessary to carry out a usability test. The aim of this document is to explain the steps that will be taken in order to realize this test. For this particular study there are multiple aspects that will be researched. Stability, deployment time and intuitively. Each with its own measurable values.
Since a person will be standing on the stool it is important to ensure structural integrity and stability of the platform. (For stability there are multiple aspects that must be tested. The first being if the structure can hold a Max load of x kg, simulating the weight of an adult. The second being if it can withstand the forces caused by the movement of a person standing on top of the stool(Stability and shear force)). There are multiple requirements that must be met:
The idea of the product is that it can be quickly deployed and folded so the user does not have to waste time setting up the stool. This way the user can go straight to partying. To test this the most important aspect is Time.
The product is meant to be deployed in a matter of seconds, therefore, it is imperative for the product to be easy to use and intuitive enough that anyone can use it. This section can be divided into two different aspects to investigate. The first being, if someone without prior experience with the product is able to effectively deploy it. The second, is to test the learnability of the product. This is, in short, if the user is able to improve the efficiency with which they manipulate the product by increasing their experience with the product.
Using the product without manual
Another aspect that could use some improvement is the material choice. The contemporary design is made out of plywood. Though this is a cheap and durable material, it is not the best option. To reduce weight, using some type of polymer or plastic could be a nice improvement. This could also improve aspects of the mass production. Not only the body, also the hinge system could use a change. Using straps as hinges is not a high quality opinion. Further research needs to be done to find a suitable, high quality hinge system.
Originally the idea was to make a stool that could give users an extra height of 30cm. However, due to issues with the compactness this ended up being 25cm. The issue with this is that users will still be shorter than average while using the product. For future steps it would be nice to still try to find a solution which allows a user to reach higher, without compromising the compactness of the design.
Though quite some time has been spent designing and refining the stepping stool, there are still multiple aspects that could be perfected. Of course, carrying out the usability test could show some valuable insights. However, this segment will mostly discuss aspects of the design that are already known to be imperfect.
First off there is the portability. The original plan was to make a product that could fit in an Eastpak backpack. However, the current design does not fit this requirement. An option could be to add a hinge to the bottom board and have it fold in half. This way the bottom part would fit, the top part is still too big though. An extra hinge could be added to this, but this might have a negative impact on the structure. Therefore, further research is necessary to solve this.