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Title: An evaluation of the potential order and priority of research methods, design methods and design heuristics within an Assistive Technology new product development process
Author: Torrens, George
ISNI:       0000 0001 2428 8350
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2015
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This commentary reflects on a series of published research articles, 1996-2013, that form a PhD thesis by publication. The articles offer evidence of research into best practice relating to Assistive Technology (AT) product design as a specialist section of Industrial Design (ID). The aim of the research has been to provide AT product developers with a methodology that ordered and prioritised the application of proven research methods, design methods and design heuristics; as well as, to highlight the fundamental concepts that underpin the methodology. This commentary provides a review of the methods applied and discussion of their efficacy within each case study. The series of articles, evaluated at a meta-analysis level in the second part of the commentary, address the following research questions: 1) What is the optimum order and priority of conventional design methods, heuristics and research methods when applied within a new product development process for assistive technology products?, 2) Through a meta-analysis of case studies, are there key aspects that underpin an optimum AT-ID process? From the review, 61 research methods, design methods and heuristics were defined. An order of methods and heuristics identified some methods that were used throughout all phases of a NPD process that included literature review, benchmarking, mixed methods and participatory research. The methods and heuristics used in all phases highlighted a user-centred approach and the close collaboration with end users and stakeholders. There was also a focus of methods and heuristics around phase 2 of the 5 design process phases defined by Martin and Hannington. The critical review also highlighted key underpinning aspects that helped optimise an Industrial Design approach to ID-AT NPD. These were 1) creating a format for dialogue within the constraints of perception and 2) previous experience and the application of ethically sound protocols for the whole process. Lastly the change of terminology and attitudes of those working the Assistive Technology industry highlighted the need for more research into social acceptance of all aspects of Assistive Technology and the perception of disability from those living with impairment and by UK society as a whole.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Industrial design ; Assistive Technology ; Methods ; Heuristics