Function • In any product design specification there are always some aspects that are more important than others. • These needs can be divided into either Primary or Secondary functions.
Function • The PRIMARY functions are those that are vital for the design to do its job. • The SECONDARY functions are those which, although important, could be compromised for the benefit of the primary functions.
Function • Dividing the specification up in this way helps you to prioritise, especially in the early stages of a design, and allows you to focus on the important aspects of the product.
Example – Electric Kettle • Primary Functions • boil 1.8 L of water • pour it safely • Secondary Functions • Indicate level of water • Cordless • Water filtration • Power indication • Keep warm • Etc...
Example – Mobile Phone • Primary Functions • Make telephone calls • Send text messages • Portability • Secondary Functions • Camera • Take/play video • Social networking • Games • Internet • Apps • Wireless technology • Etc…
Fitness for Purpose • A product should do the job it was designed for. • For example, car must be able to transport people from one place to another. • A tin opener should open tin cans.
Fitness for Purpose • How well should a product do its job? • Should a lightweight and portable can opener used for camping work as well as an electric opener designed for use in a restaurant/canteen? • Should a small lightweight city car be as comfortable and as fast as an executive saloon?
Fitness for Purpose • These products are designed to carry out similar functions. However, in reality what is expected from each product is quite different. In the case of the camping can opener - as long as it compact, lightweight and opens cans then it fits its purpose. • By contrast an industrial can opener should work very quickly and efficiently. It should be very reliable and durable. Cost, size and weight will all be of secondary importance.
Fitness for Purpose • When considering fitness for purpose, the designer should be clear about what the product must do, where it is likely to be used and who will use it. • All the essential and desirable features of the product should be clearly researched and checked during the evaluation. • Any secondary features will be a bonus and may help give the product an advantage over its competitors in the market place.
Fitness for Purpose – TASK 1 • Choose a simple everyday product that you feel is not suited to its purpose. • Describe with the aid of a sketch the product’s shortcomings.
Fitness for Purpose – TASK 2 • Choose two products that are designed to perform the same primary function BUT are significantly different in some aspects. Write your comments on these differences. • Try to include the following • Cost, Materials, Manufacturing process, Use, Life expectancy, and any other significantly different areas.
Performance • Performance is concerned these main areas: • Planned Obsolescence • Ease of Maintenance • Environmental & Social Issues • Durability
Planned Obsolescence • Strategy used by manufacturers to make their products appear out of date and redundant. • This can be done in a number of ways: • Create a fashion change or a demand for a new style; • Hold back attractive features and then introduce them on a later model; • Produce a product that will break, wear, tear or rot after a set time.
Planned Obsolescence • When the designer considers the materials and construction for a product they obviously have to take into account the following: • How long the product should last for? • How, and under what conditions, will the product be used (function, durability and safety)? • Will the product have to be maintained or repaired?
Planned Obsolescence • In many instances it is possible to design a product that will last a lifetime. • Is this necessary or even desirable? • If a manufacturer designs an everlasting product, what impact will this have on the company? • Very expensive • Become old fashioned • Customer would not get new advances
Planned Obsolescence • Find a balance between profit, value for money, durability • Satisfy the customers desire to own the latest most fashionable model. • Built-in obsolescence helps create a demand for a replacement model and at the same time satisfies the consumers’ desire for the latest version of the product.
Planned Obsolescence • Most products then have a built in life expectancy. • In general, a light bulb may only work for 2000 hours while a washing machine could need replaced every six years.
Planned Obsolescence • Similar products are available with different lengths of planned obsolescence • E.g. up-market cars are designed to last for as long as 10 years without the need for major repairs (more expensive) against a cheaper models designed to last for only 5 years.
Planned Obsolescence • A programme of planned obsolescence if companies are to remain competitive. • Consumers now expect products to evolve and they demand new improved technology and cosmetic changes on a regular basis.
Ease of Maintenance • Can easily be overlooked with many designers focusing on function, ergonomics and aesthetics. • Whilst maintenance is an aspect of function, it is secondary to how well the product does its job.
Ease of Maintenance • Depends to a large extent on the life expectancy of the product. • A cheap down-market product will often sacrifice maintenance to cost. • In this case the designer knows that the product will be thrown away when it ends its useful life.
Ease of Maintenance • More expensive up-market products will generally have much longer life expectancy and may therefore require periodic maintenance in order to keep them operating efficiently. • Building in maintenance obviously adds to the cost of the product but can be justified by the higher retail price.
Ease of Maintenance • The trend of miniaturisation in electronic products is making goods more reliable. However, if a fault develops it can be impossible to repair and in some cases it is hardly economic to maintain a product. • For example, the HP 845C ink jet printer retails £45 while the cost of replacement ink cartridges is £50!
Environmental & Social Issues • Every new product will have some impact on the environment. • Designers must therefore consider carefully the environmental effect of a new product, from production of its raw material to its ultimate disposal or recycling.
Environmental & Social Issues • A product may impact on the following areas: • Environment – aesthetic: as a result of the visual impact of the product with its surroundings; • Environment – pollution: created by the manufacture, use and/or disposal of the product at the end of its life; • Social - physical and social impact of the product on the user and society in general.
Environment – Aesthetics • Possible to create products that merge well with their environment • Alternatively they be made to stand out in stark contrast to their surroundings. • Products that harmonise with their environment are pleasing to the eye but can be considered boring and uninspiring.
Environment – Pollution • During each stage of a product’s life, its human, environmental and economic needs should be considered and investigated. • This is often referred to as the cradle to the grave approach which examines the environmental impact from the production of the raw materials all the way through to the disposal of the products at the end of its life.
Materials produced Recycling Product Life Analysis Manufacture Reuse Assembly Removal Packaging Repair Transportation Servicing / maintenance Storage Display in store Use Purchase Assembly / installation Transportation home Environment – Pollution
Environment – Pollution • Designer must consider the impact on the environment and any pollution that might be created from the cradle to the grave. • A legal requirement - manufacturers are obliged to arrange for the disposal and recycling of their product at the end of it’s useful life.
Environment – Pollution • At all stages in the development, manufacture, use, and disposal of a product, environmental issues have to be considered: • Can the product be made from renewable materials? • Are the materials biodegradable? • Are the proposed materials recyclable? • How will it be manufactured? • Is the product and manufacturing processes energy-efficient? • Is made using local skills and materials? • Can natural power sources be used? • Are the power sources used rechargeable? • How will the product be packaged? • How will the product be transported to the market place? • Can the product be easily repaired? • Have all the types of pollution (noise, smell, chemical and air) been kept to a minimum? • Have waste and by-products been kept to a minimum? • It is clear then that these limits will have major implications for the design and cost of the product.
Environment – Sociological • The environment in which we live, work and play has a considerable effect on our state of mind and general well being. • E.g. studies show that altering the light levels from day to day in a factory will improve the workers’ output. It is not the quality of light that causes this improvement but rather the fact that there has been a change in the environment that we find stimulating and therefore more motivating.
Environment – Sociological • Designers have to very careful when creating products which shape our environment. • Products such as computers or even hair dryers all have a bearing on our general state of mind.
Durability • How long a product will last in normal use without needing repaired or replaced. • Depends on the materials, manufacturing process used and fixing methods employed. • However, obsolescence is also based on the planned obsolescence and market niche of the particular product. • The actual use, care and maintenance of the product by the consumer.
Market Pull / Technology Push • Products can be developed through “MARKET PULL” (consumer demand) or “TECHNOLOGY PUSH”. • MARKET PULL – when the market recognises a need for a particular product. • TECHNOLOGY PUSH – when technology produces a new/improved product for which demand has to be created: thus, it is being ‘pushed’ onto the market.
Consumer Demand • aka market pull, produces products that derive from the demands of the market. • Demand is identified through market research. Designers and manufacturers are always looking for new markets in which to sell their products, or markets for which they can design new products (market niche).
Consumer Demand • Specialist market research companies are constantly gathering data on the requirements of the market-place. • Often this is done by questionnaire. A market researcher complete with clipboard is now a common sight on our High Streets. Sometimes the data collected will be offered for sale by the research company.
Consumer Demand – Failure • Any designer or manufacturer who does not carry out thorough market research is taking a very great risk indeed. • A classic example of this is the Sinclair C5 which was developed by Sir Clive Sinclair.
Consumer Demand – Failure • After a huge success with his computer innovations, Sinclair decided to design a small electric three-wheeled vehicle intended to be a powered alternative to the bicycle. • Although it was an innovative product and a technological success story, lack of market research doomed it before it even started.
Consumer Demand – Success • VW introduced the Golf, which was the first real hatchback car, in direct response to the results of market research. • This design satisfied an identified need for a small economical utility vehicle which fitted in with the lifestyle of the modern European.
Consumer Demand – Success • Other successes in this area have been products that satisfy a need to provide for a healthy, environmentally sound lifestyle. • Examples of these are organic foods, biodegradable detergents and sports equipment such as home exercise machines.
Task 1 • Designers recognise the market force of people wanting to buy products which they feel will boost their personal image. • Give two examples of products which you feel may be bought for this purpose. • Give one reason for each of you choices.
Technological Opportunity • Products which appear on the market sometimes do so as a result of technological innovation (TECHNOLOGY PUSH). • Scientists, engineers and designers are always looking for new ways of doing things and always striving for the ultimate solution to a given problem.
Technological Opportunity • Often new technology is stumbled upon in this search. • Sometimes the new technology has an immediately obvious application and sometimes not. Sometimes technology is transferred from one application to another. • In other words sometimes new technologies create new products and therefore a completely new market niche appears.
Technological Opportunity • Examples of products from new technology: • Microwave oven - from research into wave energy • Ceramic knives - from space-shuttle research. The Space Shuttle nose is covered in ceramic tiles • Sat-Nav –utilising missile guidance technology. • CD player - through advances in laser technology.
Task 2 • Select a product that was initially a ‘technology push’ but once introduced to the market became a ‘market pull’. • Explain you answer in detail.