C2 Conduct effective research

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Starting knowledge 2

Current working level 3

Conducting effective research before developing a new idea or product I believe  is absolutely vital.

First of all I  must understand the need of the product, why have I been asked to design it?  Who have I been asked to design it for?

You almost need to gain inspiration before designing a new product, this can come from looking at existing ideas already available to purchase.  Asking questions such as what does the market need?   Actually creating questionnaires or surveys directly asking people their opinions on what they would like and using the information to make an informed choice on what is needed.   Perhaps thinking about how I can create a product that doesn’t already look like something that is already available?  Which in turn is vital as to not adversely affect a company’s copy write laws!  Possibly looking for a niche within the market that can be explored and exploited to give my product the edge over its rivals.  Basically a good round observation of the market place as a whole is necessary so I can come to an evaluation about where my product will fit into the market.

Once deciding on where I believe my product may fit, I feel it is important to think about  how its going to be produced.  What sort of materials will I be using?  Will there be more than one material used?  How will these materials interact with one another and how will I be able to assemble them effectively?

The next question may be whether the materials are cost-effective.  Depending on whether the item is designed to be produced for the mass market in which case the lower the cost the better, or whether in fact it is a one-off product allowing for a little more expenditure.  Once this is decided I need to think about the processes which are going to be required in order to produce the product.

I usually start a project by doing a mood board to get some ideas flowing about what I am about to do.

Next I like to brainstorm some ideas, looking at where a product might fit, who is going to use it, how much is it going to cost, what is it going to be made out of e.t.c

Once I have decided on a product I need to think about customers and the target audience, where appropriate I usually like to conduct a survey asking potential customers their thoughts and ideas and hopefully look for  popular choices but try to exploit a gap within that  market.

Following this I think about where the product isgoing to be located and look at what is already available on the market and try to come up with something original in my initial set of ideas.

looking at location

existing ideas

Following this I research materials.  If you go to R2 there is some research on the materials I have used in my first 2 projects and mini tasks.

However, one thing I stated at the beginning of this section is that research should not only be about reading and writing about materials,
Research should include testing them and interacting with them and seeing how different materials might work together.  If I’m honest with myself although I did extensive research on the different materials available in ED216 however I didn’t work with them and test them as part of my research which in truth I should have done.  Research is an on-going process throughout a design folio and I need to remember that in the future.
Again in my space saving furniture project I have conducted my basis for research in a similar vein as the above.  But I think I have gone more in depth and looked at other factors that will be of importance.  I have looked at the materials and included research about sustainability but I have actively sought advice on the appropriate materials to use from professionals as well as testing them before using them in my project which I did not do in the previous projects.  I have also evaluated ergonomics and actively used the findings in my designs so I feel I have made an improvement on conducting effective research.  With the research I have undertaken I feel I have analysed it more and actively included it in the working process.  Whereas before I gained knowledge about subject matter, but was not critical enough in applying it to my work and therefore could have been viewed as conducting research but not effectively using it.
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