The foundation of IAD's design philosophy is the belief that designing from user research data creates an empathetic connection with the user by demonstrating an understanding that humanizes a product's function and aesthetics. This results in an emotive user experience which is an attribute that all successful products exhibit. The research data can also reveal experience driven design opportunities that spur innovation in unexpected ways.
There are three primary phases of the design process, discovery, development, and execution, of which research plays an integral role throughout. Below we describe how research is interwoven in each phase.
The generative front end of our design process consists of contextual observation and interviews of target user groups in order to reveal unrealized market opportunities. By understanding the user groups actual “wants and needs” we are better able to guide our creative decision-making process, assuring relevant and effective choices for tangible product innovation at each design juncture.
We gather empirical user data by observing and recording the culture and context of a user groups interaction with a product or system. Questionnaires and surveys provide insight on desired attributes and functionality. The critique of existing competitive products by analyzing their features serves as a way find a market advantage.
Concept exploration and organization through the use of affinity diagrams is a thematic way of organizing large quantities of data to explore relevant solutions following the discovery phase. During this process, we tap into the creative output of the team through brainstorming sessions.
Rapid ideation follows the diagramming stage and uses the attributes and features found in the discovery phase to begin an iterative process where concepts are refined. Numerous ideas/variations are explored during this stage. Innovation is achieved when we combine the output from diagramming and rapid ideation with a survey of relevant technology and synergize these elements. Evaluative design research is a stage of refinement that employs an interplay between the three main disciplines of our design team: researchers, engineers, and designers. We use various tools to iterate the design concept by operating in a state of mind that emphasizes constant improvement through iteration.
Brand language Product graphics and user interface are created, Design renderings
Physical properties are explored through form studies, sketch models, prototypes, 3d cosmetic models, and full function prototype models suitable for user testing.
Prototype simulation prototypes are made in-house in our model shop and tested with user groups to verify and confirm attributes and allow for comparative product testing and analysis. Human factor and ergonomic considerations assure that the design concepts are in accordance with standards for comfort and cognitive usability for the human user. This assures a proper “fit” between the user and the product or system.
Engineering optimization through manufacturing expertise, structural analysis, and failure analysis. Cost analysis and design considerations.