Product development

Home learning focus

Learn about how designers create new solutions to problems and how they change existing designs.

This lesson includes:

  • two video clips demonstrating how designers work

  • two activities to try at home

Learn

Watch this short film from the programme 'The Big Life Fix'.

In the film, a team of inventors work to make a school playground more accessible for 8-year-old Josh, who was born blind with a rare condition called Norrie Disease.

It is difficult for Josh to play with children in the playground at his primary school.

Design strategist, Ruby Steel, and engineer, Jude Pullen, investigate different ways Josh could navigate the playground and interact with his friends, from GPS satellite navigation to musical tiles.

The film demonstrates how the team prototype different ideas and come to a solution that fulfils the brief.

Creating a tactile playground for Josh

Key design considerations

When starting a design process it is usual to have a brief and product specification.

Brief

This is where you set out clearly in a short statement the problem you are working to address and how you intend to solve it.

Specification

This is a list of the key points a product must meet or include in order to be satisfactory, eg when designing a kettle, it must be able to heat water to the desired temperature and be safe to use.

Other considerations can include the cost or manufacturing process.

Process and techniques

In this short film designers at a company which makes mountain bikes describe how they construct their range of bike frames.

The film shows how designs are modified and improved based on new technology and user needs.

Designing and manufacturing mountain bikes

The film you have just watched shows the manufacturing processes used to build the bikes and how they can be modified.

Designers will often evaluate existing designs to consider new issues or needs.

Practise

Now why not try and put some of what you have learned about product development in to action.

In these activities you can test your knowledge and build a design that you can then review and think about how you would modify it.

Activity 1

Take this short test from SAM Learning to refresh yourself on the key points you have just learned about briefs and specifications.

Select the design brief and specification activity

Activity 2

In this activity from Science Museum Group you can try your building skills at home.

Build a dome out of straws and consider how it has been designed to be sturdy and how it could be made larger.

Try this activity

Where next?

Continue your learning with these links

Stem Learning: Sports car specialist

Stem Learning: Born to engineer

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.

Bitesize Daily lessons
GCSE Design and Technology
BBC Teach Design & Technology