Topic 6: Product design


Define ergonomics, anthropometrics and percentile range.

State that ergonomics is multidisciplinary, encompassing anthropometrics, psychological factors and physiological factors.

Describe a design context where the 5th–95th percentile range has been used.
For example, mass-produced clothing.

Describe a design context where the 50th percentile has been used.
For example, height of a desk.

Explain the limitations of using the 50th percentile as a means of designing for the “average” person.
The 50th percentile refers to one particular dimension. For example, someone may be average in height but not average in other dimensions.

Identify specific design contexts where the designer would use percentile ranges for particular user groups.
For example, toys for young children.

Outline the significance of psychological factors (smell, light, sound, taste, texture and temperature) to ergonomics.
Individuals react differently to sensory stimuli. Efficiency and comfort are affected by such factors.

Outline physiological factors that affect ergonomics.
For example, bodily tolerances such as fatigue and comfort.

Discuss the influence of perception when collecting data relating to psychological factors.
Quantitative data may be used in a design context relating to psychological factors, but individuals vary in their reaction to the data. For example, one person will find a room temperature comfortable while another person will find it uncomfortable, though the temperature is constant.

6.2 The designer and society

Discuss moral and social responsibilities of designers in relation to green design issues.
Consider issues relating to waste, pollution, resources, market forces and wealth creation.

Define planned obsolescence.

Outline how planned obsolescence influences the design specification of a product.
Consider materials and construction, durability and ease of maintenance.

Describe the advantages and disadvantages of planned obsolescence to the designer, manufacturer and consumer.
Refer to consumer choice, value, R&D and product life cycle.

Define fashion.

Compare the influence of fashion and planned obsolescence on the product cycle.
Planned obsolescence has a definite timescale; fashion is less predictable. Both may be present. For example, a certain colour may be fashionable for a car but this does not affect materials or technological obsolescence.

Evaluate the influence of fashion and planned obsolescence in relation to the quality and value of a product.
Consider whether “designer” products are better quality than cheaper brands of the same product, and also question the values of a “throw-away society”.

Explain how aesthetic considerations affect the design of products.
Refer to shape and form, texture and colour.

Discuss the conflict that a designer faces when attempting to balance form with function in the design of products.
Examples should be used, for example, a car or domestic products.