Designing a product for a client can be done in several ways. Manufacturers cannot risk investing large amounts of money into the production of a product that has not had adequate design, modelling, testing, prototyping and evaluation.
Iterative design is a circular design process that models, evaluates and improves designs based on the results of testing.
Starting with a design brief a designer may come up with a good idea that solves a problem. Using an iterative design process, a model can be made from a design sketch and then tested. The test results may suggest failures and modifications to the design. These changes are evaluated, and then the cycle begins again - until the best solution to the problem is found.
This involves creating a series of freehand sketches of design ideas that may help solve the problem in the design brief. These could be different from each other or developments of an original idea.
Modelling ideas in card, paper, clay or other materials can create a cheap and quick way to do initial trials with a product. Using an easy to modify material provides a good way of seeing how a product looks and works, eg checking handles are in the right place or parts fit together well. Taking photographs or video throughout this can show development.
Once a model has been made it can be tested in a variety of ways:
The data that is gathered from the testing of a model can be in the form of questions answered or tables of measurements or results. These can then be analysed and used to improve aspects such as:
Evaluation is crucial in the design process as it can highlight any modifications that need to be made at the next stage. It is also a valuable point at which to consider the product against the original design specification and ensure the client or target market’s needs are met.
From the evaluation, a designer can revisit the models and design ideas to make improvements to:
Becoming fixated on a particular idea can become an issue when trying to develop a new solution to a design problem. This can be avoided by: