In recent years, User Centred Research has become a key component of the design process. We actively apply this philosophy in all of our design projects, as we believe understanding the user and their requirements significantly benefits the final product produced. Our team of Design Researchers will assist you through this discovery process; firstly, we will identify the context of use; then specify the design requirements; create effective design solutions and evaluate these designs against the user requirements. Projects such as these require input from the intended user group – you can expect our design team to complete valuable primary research, which may include focus groups, questionnaires and observational studies.
Our team has experience of applying the following design research tools:
We will clearly define the scope of your project. Understand the target user group and identify any potential technical, commercial or intellectual property barriers that may prevent your product from getting to market.
We will generate an array of design ideas that address your project brief and present them in digital sketch format. A strong focus will be placed on adding value to the product by understanding the user’s needs.
A preferred concept will be developed in order to create a refined design solution. Even at this early stage, we will consider the intended manufacturing process; material; finish; assembly process; and disposal method.
Once a final design has been selected, we will create a detailed 3D CAD model of your product. If your device requires custom electronics, this will be developed concurrently to the mechanical element of the design.
Using the latest technologies, we can build a full working prototype of your product. Such a high fidelity demonstrator can be used to communicate the product benefits to investors and obtain quality user feedback.
This phase is dedicated to preparing your product for manufacture; ensuring that all 3D CAD models are fully optimised and that critical to quality (CTQ) features are properly specified using an engineering drawing.
It is likely that your product will require accreditation, which can be obtained from a number of certified bodies following rigorous testing. We can advise on relevant third parties capable of supporting product approvals.
We have established a network of manufacturing partners in the UK and Far East. Via this network, we are able to produce your product and supply it fully assembled and tested to a given standard of quality.
Case Study: UriCheck-60
UriCheck was born from a User Centred Design workshop. A 2004 model urinalysis machine was identified, we took it upon ourselves to redesign the enclosure as we believed it was a great chance for us to highlight our User Centred Design skills.
With the use of UCD techniques a range of challenges were identified, the product was intended to be used in a range of clinical environments meaning an emphasis was placed on maintaining a small footprint. As these environments are often high-pressured and sensitive, suitable colouring had to be fully considered. As the user would be conducting several tests an hour, the product needed to allow for streamlined interaction, making the test process as easy as possible.
The functioning prototype makes use of an accent colour in the areas of the product where human interactions take place. Through our research we discovered that the human eye is attracted to colour change, we believed this would help to streamline the test process. The coloured features outline the key areas that the user will interact with during the testing process; On/Off, Touchscreen, Test insertion and Receipt printer. As these tests can take place in laboratories as well as at the bedside, the UriCheck-60 incorporates an ergonomic handle to ensure transportation is smooth.
A Stereolithography (SLA) enclosure was produced externally and finished in-house with hard-wearing matt grey, white and teal paint. Carefully designed internal ribs and bosses ensure the several internal components are held securely in place, allowing for safe transportation. As with all of our projects design for disassembly is fully considered, the UriCheck-60 makes use of fasteners to secure parts together meaning the product can be fully disassembled and recycled at the end of its life.
Having successfully researched and developed a number of innovative products, we have identified a series of success factors that are common across the projects we have completed:
Understanding the user: the risk of developing any new product is that it doesn’t become adopted by the target user. With UCD the possibility of this is slim as throughout the whole design process the demands and requirements of the indented user are constantly considered. Understanding the needs of the user throughout the project will allow your product to answer these needs in the most effective way, making it stand a greater chance of gaining market success.
Identifying environment: the environment of indented use can regularly influence not only the products aesthetic qualities, but also the material choice. Understanding this from the offset of the project will significantly influence decisions made throughout the design process. With the use of UCD techniques we will be able to identify the indented environment, meaning we can be confident that we are producing an applicable design. Consider if the product is going to be used for indoor/outdoor use, should it be designed for indoor use considerations like contemporary interiors, footprint, etc. will be at the forefront. Whereas an outdoor product will have to consider material properties, natural elements, etc.
Sourcing user group: User Centred Design requires the intended user group to participate in a range of relevant activates to best understand their needs. These activities can include questionnaires and focus groups, here the user group participate in conversations and answer questions that will allow us to develop an idea to what their requirements are. Another activity is observation, often unthought of problems can be identified from watching users completing a task, for example a user experiencing difficulty with an ‘ABC’ style keyboard, observations helped to identify this problem as the footage should the user stalling when selecting a key. Sometimes it can be difficult to source users to participate in activities, offering incentives can increase participation.
We are thrilled with the design service and on-going support we have received from ITERATE. They supported us at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where we launched Group-Muv and received a fantastic response from the tech community. Gethin’s efforts have been exceptional, which is why we are continuing to work very closely with ITERATE.
We love working with ambitious clients, solving technical challenges and creating great medical products that achieve commercial success. If you would like to discuss your project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01291 442181.