- Current section: 1 Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 People-centred designing
- 2 New products – old failings
- 3 Designing for users
- 4 Who are the users?
- 5 Why not design for the ‘average’ user
- 6 Inclusive design
- 7 Ergonomics and human factors
- 8 Interaction design
- 10 User research techniques: observing users
- 11 Designing for pleasure
- 12 The voice of the customer
- 13 Products for markets
- 14 Summary
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Designed products surround us all and range from bus tickets to buildings. This unit...
Designed products surround us all and range from bus tickets to buildings. This unit focuses firmly on usability and the increasingly important phenomenon of people-centred design. It aims to inform consumers of design (i.e., all of us) about this crucial characteristic of design. The unit is derived from the Open University course T211 on Design and Designing, but as well as stimulating interest in areas of concern for producers of design it might also provide an introduction to engineering, manufacturing and business studies.
After studying this unit you should:
- have gained a knowledge and understanding of the principles of user-centred designing;
- be able to criticise some everyday products from a user's point of view;
- be able to suggest and apply some appropriate methods for researching how users interact with products;
- be able to apply comparison and evaluation skills, including constructive criticism of everyday products;
- be able to apply observational skills in the context of both your own and others' use of products.
Designed products surround us all and range from bus tickets to buildings. One of the primary considerations in all fields of design is ‘usability’ and, increasingly, the phenomenon of ‘user-centred design’. This can focus on physical attributes of products but increasingly it depends on an understanding of our cognitive abilities required to operate even simple products. All people studying this unit will have some experience of designs that are not usable (perhaps mobile phones or car controls). This unit provides you with an introduction to the principles and procedures of design usability through the critical evaluation of selected products. Taking everyday examples, it develops students’ confidence and skills in critically evaluating products around them – particularly consumer products. This unit aims to inform ‘consumers’ of design (i.e. all of us) about one important characteristic of design.
This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 22nd July 2011
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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