Block 2 of the course involved learning about designing for people; I learned about User Centred and Empathic Design, Total Product Concept (the idea that consumers make purchasing decisions based on the look of an item and its value added features as well as its basic features), the Marketing Mix, Consumer Psychology and Motivation and the importance that culture plays in purchases.

The project work required me to submit a project proposal and I was required to use some of the research techniques described in the course material in my own project work. I chose to use the following techniques:

Online Survey

The Designing for People surveywas designed to be both quantitative and qualitative, to gather more detailed information about the products suggested at the strategic review stage and to assess strong project contenders. The survey was sent out by email to people known to have or to be affected by disability in some way. It was posted on message boards relating to neuromuscular conditions and others such as Facebook and Bebo which have groups for disabled people and their families.

Jasmine Beadles, age 6, being presented with a powered wheelchair by television news presenter Lucy Meacock.  Photo courtesy of Bert Dyson at Helsby Golf Club.

Jasmine Beadles, age 6, being presented with a powered wheelchair by television news presenter Lucy Meacock. Photo courtesy of Bert Dyson at Helsby Golf Club.

Focus Groups

Some survey respondents agreed to act as a focus group for this project. As the course progressed, the focus group grew also.

Case Studies

Two members of the focus group with experience of neuromuscular conditions undertook case studies, detailing difficult day to day activities. The case studies were valuable in showing the difficulties experienced by disabled people with daily tasks and the attention that would be required with design features.

Blog

This blog was created as a way of keeping the focus groups engaged with the progress of the project; it was also proved useful as an efficient means of communicating ideas about the project, when gathering information.

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