DT Product Design: Reflection Test

Notes for the main topics of the Advanced Innovation Challenge - Section 3, the Reflection Test


Sustainability Issues

  • The 6 R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, Rethink, Repair.
    • Which of these apply to your product when it comes to the end of it's life?
    • Is it made from a thermoplastic such that it can then be recycled?
  • Can you reduce the number of components, materials, ingrediants etc
    • In particular, polluting or non-recyclable ones.
    • Are you using potentially polluting inks? Are there any more sustainable alternatives?
  • What are the environmenal implactions for the extraction and sourcing of your materials?
    • The extraction of petroleum for plastics can lead to oil spills.
    • Some metal-ores can only be found in certain places, sometimes in ecological bio-diverse areas such as rainforests cause the mass displacement of animal species and occsionaly indgenious tribes people.
  • Links with geography
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Product Life

  • How often will the product be used?
  • How frequently will the product need to be maintained? Is it cost effective to maintain the product?
  • Think about the bigger picture of the product from design, materials, construction, distribution, use, disposale. 
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Social, moral and cultural issues

  • How much are the people that make the products (often in developing countries) paid?
  • What are their working conditions like?
  • What language barriers are there if your product was to be sold in another country?
  • Are there ways of breaking down lanuage barriers with signs and symbols?
  • Are the colours relevant in other cultures (often colours we associate with emotions don't apply in other cultures and the same feelings are symbolised by different colours.
  • How will your product affect society?
  • This is interlinked with sustainability issues, as is it ethical to be wasteful and pollute the environment?
  • Links with Religious Studies and the Social Sciences
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Environmental Issues

  • Closely linked with sustainability issues
  • Think about the power supply used to create, and if necessary, use your product?
  • Will fossil fuels, burnt in the production of electricity, cause environmental issues as a result of the manufacture of your product?
  • Can the product be recycled once it has finished it's purpose?
  • Can any bi-products, formed during the manufacture of your product, be recycled?
  • Many items sent to be recycled in the UK, are then sent to China to be recycled, is this not contributing to carbon emissions and making the recycling of the materials futile?
  • Links with geography
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Inclusive Design

  • Know your target market.
  • Do they have any specific needs?
  • Will to be used by another users?
  • Does your product have a wide market base and who does this include?
  • What different needs do different groups of people have?
  • What alternations could you make to your product to make it easier to use by all users?
  • Are there any alterations that could be made to make it easier to use by a select number of users that are likely to find the product difficult to use?
  • Have you used anthropometric data to take into account the average user?
  • Is your target market typically outside of the 95th percentile and what affect will this have on how they use your product and what changes could you make to change this?
  • An ageing population in the developed world means that more products need to be easily usable by the elderly, however, it must be taken into consideration that the product must still be useable by all age groups. 
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Human Interface

  • Linked with inclusive design.
  • How will the user interact with your product?
  • Will they use it in the designed way? It they don't, could it create a health and safety issue?
  • Are the aesthetics pleasing the look at?
  • Is the product enjoyable to use?
  • Links with Computing and IT
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  • Links with the user interface
  • Is it pleasing to look at?
  • Often ignored are the other senses; is it pleasing to feel etc.
    • Especially important when designing for the elderly, children and the disabled - see inclusive design.
  • What about the shape… Is it pleasing? Is it symbolic? Will it affect how the user uses the product? Will it affect how the user treats the product? Will it become iconic?
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Scale of Production

  • Bespoke, batch or continuous?
  • When is the demand, is it continuous or only at specific times?
  • Will this affect the cost of the product?
  • Will this affect where the manufacturing takes place?
  • 'Just in time' concept
  • Will the scale of production affect how your product is manufactured and if so in what way?
  • How many people will be required to work the manufacturing process or will it be fully automated?
  • Will parts be standardised? Is it necessary to make sure parts are interchangeable? Will repairs need to be made on the product? 
  • Does each product coming off the production line need to be exactly identical? And if so, to what scale and what methods of quality control will be used?
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Production Tecnologies

  • Will CAD/CAM be used?
  • How will this affect how the product is manufactured and how many workers will be required?
  • What manufacturing techniques will be used and how will this differ between materials?
  • How will components be manufactured and joined together?
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  • Don't know really why this is in there
  • Does your product appeal to current fashions?
  • Is it a timeless product that is unaffected by fashion changes?
  • Could you make it timeless/apply to current fashions to improve sales where necessary, and if so, in what ways?
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  • How will your product be marketed at your target market?
  • Branding, advertising etc.
  • Who are your clients, customers and target market?
  • Are they the same, are they different, and how does this affect your branding?
  • Is the client the end user?
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Commercial Issues

  • Are there any issues with the distribution of your product?
  • Could be used for other purposes, than that it was originally intended to do?
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V Man Kulam


Great Covers all the topics in the textbook. Some do require some more depth however

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