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Context and Design Brief
The Problem, and opportunity of design:
I have researched the need of lap desks and travel desks in car journeys, and
around the house. A regular user of her laptop, Natasha, aged 17 says:
"I've been looking for a laptop desk so that my poor Mac won't overheat in the
summer time. I was appalled to find that the two most common returns to a
search were like... REALLY expensive." This tells me that there is a gap in the
market, for durable but affordable travel work spaces that can be used by
lap top users in general.
During this research, I also found that lacking entertainment in car journeys can
cause a risk to the driver, when they can become too easily distracted.
From the website www.ebaymotors.co.uk/cargames , research shows
· `Bored kids start playing up just 12 minutes into a car journey', following they
state, `with families planning to spend a total of seven hours on the roads
together this half-term, experts are warning against being distracted by
attention-seeking offspring as one in five drivers admit taking their eyes off
the road because of misbehaving youngsters.
A poll of more than 3,000 parents by eBay Motors reveals Mums and Dads
will do anything to keep the peace and are set to spend a total of £58
million* keeping their kids quiet whilst they're behind the wheel next week.'
· eBay Motors `'Cost of Keeping the Peace' study also reveals:
each UK family will spend £19 keeping kids entertained on journeys this half
term - enough petrol to take a family car from London to Alton Towers.
a third of parents say they regularly lose their rag while driving thanks to kids playing
· `Child Psychologist Doctor Pat Spungin comments on the results: "Despite
getting distracted very early into a car journey, today's children can in fact be
quite easily entertained. Simple, classic family car games such as I-spy and
the number plate game are perfect for the motoring mother or father because
they don't involve a great deal of attention and they're free. On the other
hand drawing is still a favorite past time of children, that can sometimes keep
them occupied for long periods of time in the car"
This tells me that there is definitely a gap in the market for something that will
provide an entertainment factor in long car journeys. Today's children
have things like iPods and video games to keep them occupied, however
this is expensive to the parents. A cheap, affordable option would be to
give children an option to draw, read and write, on a travel desk. My
design could include a storage system, which could hold drawing
materials, and any other things the child may have, for example their
IPod, or something of the like. I will also take into account other things
children may do/need in a car journey, for example comfort to sleep and
rest, and incorporate this in my design.
Existing products for in car use include the pictures below, the main problem is
that the storage systems are a separate product to the lap desks
I intend to design a lap/travel desk for the target market, of children aged 5-11. The Lap desk will provide an area to study,
eat and use as a laptop desk at the users comfort. I'd like to add a further function to the lap desk, to ensure
stationary can be stored within the desk itself.
I have found that there is a missing sector in this market area, as the lap desks available, do not meet their intended purpose,
being too large or uncomfortable to use. This is the problem I am going to solve during my designing of a lap desk,
ensuring it provides comfort when being used. In my design I will also add a storage system to the design, to ensure
boredom is avoided as much as possible.…read more
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Planning The Research
For this project I will need to carry out some primary and secondary
research before I begin designing my product.
In this way I will be able to gather a wider, and therefore more thorough
Research 1 :Week 3: Mood board Firstly I will collate a mood board of
colours, themes and interests my target market may have. I will include
existing products on the mood board that I am influenced by.
Research 2: Week 4: Existing products- aesthetical features and strengths
and weaknesses I will look at existing products in the lap desk market, and
other markets for in-car accessories. I will focus on the aesthetics of the
lap/travel desks available. This will include researching existing shapes,
styles, and colours, I will also look at the designer influences of these
products. I will use this research to find the missing aesthetical features that
I could include in my product, I will also ensure that I do not come up with a
design that is already existing. I will look at existing products, and identify
the strengths and weaknesses they may have. This will help me choose
where I'm going to go with my project, developing the good things and
improving the bad things. And adding missing features that could be of
Research 3: Week 5: Ergonomics and anthropometrical data I will study
the ergonomic factors concerning lap/travel desks, such as ways in which
lap desks can be shaped in order to be as comfortable as possible for the
user I will also look at the anthropometric data.
Research 4: Week 5: Existing products- materials I will research the
materials being used in the lap/travel desk industry, this will include looking
at types of materials, finishes they give , costs and manufacturing ease. I will
ensure that the material I decide to use has an extensive durability, I will also
look at smart materials to see where I can add improvements to my
Research 5: Week 5: Safety Issues This week I will look at safety issues with
the product I am designing, looking at user needs and functions that may
cause a health risk to the user. I will do this by studying children whilst using
a lap desk, hopefully then I will discover disadvantages or problems they
find with it. I will also carry out a survey, which will ensure I am designing for
the user/intended target audience. This will act as a primary research, to add
to this I will l also carry out a research to find out what exactly my target…read more
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By doing this mood board I have been able to develop my knowledge of my target audience,
children aged 5-11 years old.
I have discovered that they are attracted by bright, eye catching colours, and visual stimulation
appeals to them greatly. To a child, it seems to be what the product looks like that gets their
attention more than the purpose.
From the images I have collated in this mood board, my conclusion is to focus on patterns, and
colours that are striking and `fun' to the eye.…read more
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The aesthetical features of the general lap/travel desks I have looked at have included features
like block colours, and relate to many child themes. Primary colours are the most popular
choice in the market area I have looked at, this is because of the audience I have chosen to
specify my product too. The use of these colours can be seen in images 1,2,3 and 4.
Themes include Disney products, and themes relating to child's television programmes;
characters and animals, that the children are used to and therefore prefer the product to which
their preference has been related.
The shape most used in this market is the basic rectangle, however some designers have made
their travel desks more consumer/ergonomically friendly by adding an arch in the area where
the stomach should sit into the desk, and to provide comfort, they have also added padding
underneath to add extra comfort on the legs when leaning on them using the desk.
These two comfort features have been made more aesthetically pleasing by making the shape
more interesting, and attractive. The comfort padding can relate to a theme, for example image
4, shows both features in use.
One thing that I have found, is that not all the features are included in just one item, which is
what I intend to put into my design. My design should provide storage like images 1,2 and 3, but
should also be interesting and attractive to look at, and be comfortable to use like image 4.
One aesthetical feature that I found is missing on many products, is an edge to secure anything
that may be on the desk it self, a simple raised edge could prevent spillages, and would make
the table easier to use. The desks that I have looked at that do feature this design, are made for
younger children; to be clipped on to car seats, rather than older children that use the desks
whilst sitting on their laps.
All of the lap desks I have looked at are made of a waterproof material, suitable for likely messy
The products I have looked at aren't as aesthetically pleasing as they could be, they may have
added a colour as with products 1 and 3, and some have gone a bit further to create a product
that is suited aesthetically to the children, products 2 and 4. However I think that the products
in the market are targeted more at the parents of the children, who go for function over
The way in which designers ion the market today attract their customers, as In the children, is
by adding freebies to there products,. 4
Therefore in my design I am going to focus on decoration, and as long as the products does its
job, it meets its function, and is therefore more appealing to my target audience, who are
children. In that way I will be attracting both the parents for the function, and the children for
the décor,.…read more
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Existing Products: strengths and I looked at two different products to cover
my entire target audience of children aged 5-
11. I could have looked at the second product
on its own, however the lap desk for children
aged 2-5 includes features that I want to
include in my design.
From what I have looked at it seems I must
There should be a thin edge on this as toys will include an edge/rim of some kind to provide
just slip off the desk this way, liable to spillages security for the consumers products. I must
A Lap desk for children 2-5: onto the child. All of the lap desks I have looked also make sure that the lap desk is of a
at do not actually use any edges, so this image suitable, practical size in which the product
shows one of the better products. However not can be put away, and provides enough space
even this on considers a 4th edge, as this could for the consumer to use it for multiple
The colour is really
cause user problems as it could act as a barrier to activities. I think I would like to include more
very gender bias, as
the children using the desk. than one function for the product, maybe
boys are usually the
target audience for include a way of incorporating functions for
blue products. the user to use the product for other activities
It should have been they may do in the car, for example, sleeping,
patterned to be and eating.
more appealing to a The size allows multiple activities to be going I need to include a form of storage within the
wider audience on product, which would again add a function to
it, it would then act as a bag, as well as being
The size is NOT practical
for putting away in the
a desk. I think I will make the bottom very
Provides comfortable, so it is not only comfortable for
storage car, as it takes up a lot of
room the main use of using the desk, but then can
also be used as a pillow, for rest in the car.
This material, MDF Like the lap desk for children aged 6-11 I will
covered with fabric; is use some kind of material that can be
not very strong, cleaned, at the same time as being durable,
Only carries out one function
therefore isn't very and hard-wearing for child use.
durable There are edges to stop items falling off of the One thing I will do, is make the design and
desk shape of my lap desk more interesting, when
This indent in the lap desk provides a I carry out my ergonomic study, I will look at
A Lap desk for children aged 6-11: pen holder for colouring, and a cup Comes in a variety of different ways in which the product can
holder for when the product is being colours, patterns, which provide more comfort, and ease to the user.
used for eating rather than leisure means that the product
activities it self can be aimed at Overall I have found that the features I want
everyone, as there is a to include in my product, do not actually
wider range available. feature in ONE product alone in the market
available. today. Therefore I will include all of the
A cushioned bottom to
strengths that I have found throughout this
provide comfort to the user research task, because it will ensure the
There is no rim on the lap desk, product meets standards which have already
This acrylic is very meaning in the car things are likely been made. The weaknesses I have come
smooth and strong, to slip off the desk, causing across, I hope will be avoided and improved.
providing a durable and problems for the consumer
cleanable surface. CHOSEN TARGET AUDIENCE: As there are
only lap desks available for the following
45.1x 27.9 x 9cm- size is small and practical for being stored target audience groups, I have decided to
Does not include away when not in use make a lap desk available for children across
any form of storage both groups.…read more