An introduction to design engineering
An introduction to design engineering

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An introduction to design engineering

3.2 Design driver examples

Practise your understanding of design drivers by giving examples of each type of design driver defined in Section 3. For each one, try to consider the primary design driver from the point of view of the user.

Activity 5 Exploring design drivers

Timing: Allow 20 minutes to complete this activity

Use the table below to suggest an example of a design that responds to each of the drivers listed. Write each one as a single sentence summary point and try to explain how the design responds to the driver. (See the top line for an example.)

Table 2 Example of a design

DriverDesignHow?
To meet a needMobile phoneMy mobile phone meets the need of communicating with other people by allowing me to contact anyone I know directly and at any time (if they’re there…)
To meet a need
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To solve a problem
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To fulfil a desire/demand
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To improve something
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To respond to change
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‘Just because’
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Words: 0
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Discussion

Below are some examples; you may have chosen very different ones and that is absolutely fine. Compare your own examples to these and consider how well they exemplify the stated driver.

Table 3 Example of a design - suggested answers

DriverDesignHow?
To meet a needMobile phoneMy mobile phone meets the need of communicating with other people by allowing me to contact anyone I know directly and at any time (if they’re there…)
To solve a problemTin openerA tin opener solves the problem of how to open a can of food. I put this as solving a problem because there are lots of different types of tin opener and also different ways of opening a tin.
To fulfil a desire/demandNational Grid (the entire system!)Our desire and demand for instantly available energy is the main driver for the National Grid in the UK. The individual elements in the system might solve problems or meet needs, but these all serve the main purpose of fulfilling people’s desire for instant energy.
To improve somethingDouble-glazed window unitsModern double-glazed windows improve the thermal performance of older single-glazed windows. Some of them even look okay.
To respond to changeLaptop computerMy laptop makes use of a solid-state hard drive, a technology that came down in price significantly at the time of writing.
‘Just because’ Web servicesWeb services, like Mr. doob, are sometimes developed simply because their developers can, or want to, explore a new technology, or see what is possible. Sometimes, simply playing with something leads to radically new ideas.

As mentioned at the start of this section, identifying precisely what the primary driver is can be difficult. A project may spend time in the early stages trying to set these out very carefully to get it off to a good start. These projects recognise that the primary driver has a huge impact on how the later stages of a design progress – affecting decisions, approvals and validation.

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