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1 Part 1 Investigating the innovation process

In Part 1 I invite you to look around at the technological products in your home or at work and consider their development history and their impact on the lives of you and your family. I then define the key concepts associated with the process of invention, design, innovation and diffusion.


Author(s): The Open University

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1.1.3 Features of diagrams

As there is variety in the types of diagrams we can see and use we need to think more broadly about what diagrams are trying to represent. One distinction which follows on from the discussion above is:

  • Analogue representations: these diagrams look similar to the object or objects they portray. At their simplest they are photographs of real objects and at their most complicated they are colourful, fully labelled drawings of the inner workings o
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13 Products for markets

Japanese car companies came to dominate in many countries in the 1980s, and this was in part attributable to their marketing research and emphasis on designing products for particular market segments. An example is the car firm Nissan, which researches national preferences for various car attributes in different countries. For instance, it is reputed to have provided its cars with softer suspensions in Germany, firmer steering in the UK, and noisier exhausts in Italy. There are other reasons
Author(s): The Open University

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12.1 Gathering data

In this section I will review some of the approaches and methods used by companies for identifying and exploiting marketing opportunities.

All over the world, producer companies have increasingly learned to keep a careful watch on emerging consumer requirements and changing user needs and wishes. They have not only learned to listen to what consumers say, but to watch what they do. Techniques used in market research to gather consumers’ views on products include both quantitative meth
Author(s): The Open University

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11.1 he four pleasures

In consumerist societies, buying, using and displaying products has come to represent a certain type of pleasure. This pleasure principle has to be acknowledged in new product development and design. The designer Kenneth Grange has said that a guiding design principle for him is that a product should be ‘a pleasure to use’.

The pleasures of using a product are derived from the perceived benefits it offers to the user. Can we be more explicit in planning product benefits that are ple
Author(s): The Open University

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9.1.5 Immersion

Click on the 'View document' link below to read Jordan on 'Immersion'.

View document16.1KB PDF document<
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9.1.4 Take a trip to the payphone

Click on the 'View document' link below to read 'Take a trip to the payphone'.

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9.1.2 Limits

Second, decide the limits and the variations to the user trip or trips that you are going to take. It is usually a good idea to extend the trip into activities that both precede and succeed the immediate use of the product you are investigating since this may lead you into devising an improved, more integrated overall solution. Similarly, variations on a basic trip – different times of day, different weather conditions, different requirements – will probably bring to light a wider range o
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9.1.1 Point of view

Decide first of all which user's point of view you are taking: consumer, operator, maintenance person, and so on. You may want to make several trips, from different user perspectives, or try special user perspectives, such as that of a disabled person. It is usually easiest to take a consumer's trip because you may need special permission, access, and perhaps skills, before you can take any other.


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8.1.2 Feedback

A second important principle is providing feedback to the user – for example, when you press a button it moves and clicks, or you hear some other sound or you see a light to indicate the action has been registered by the machine.

Here's another short video clip from Phillip Joe at IDEO, this time on feedback.

8.1.1 Visibility

Recall that a key usability design feature identified by Donald Norman – from his analysis of using everyday objects such as doors – was visibility. An everyday object such as a door, or a control such as a button on a product should appear to be obvious about how it is used, and indeed it should perform that obvious function. For example, is it obvious how you insert a disc into a player? Is it obvious how you switch the machine on, adjust volume, and so on?


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8.1 Making usable products

This section reveals that many modern products need to usable by our minds as much as our bodies. Products need to be understandable, and present information and feedback in meaningful ways.

A lot of ergonomics research is aimed at establishing guidelines, standards or rules that can be applied by designers in a variety of situations. Where this applies to the physical use of products, much of it is based on standard body measurements. These body measurements are known as anthropomet
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7 Ergonomics and human factors

This section discusses designing for human capabilities and limitations. It introduces the study of ergonomics which can offer general guidelines as well as specific suggestions for good, user-centred product design.

Taking the user as the central point of reference for the design and evaluation of products is the approach encouraged by ergonomists.

The field of ergonomics (also known as human factors engineering) is the systematic study of human capabilities, limitations and requ
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6 Inclusive design

This section reveals the importance of designing things to suit all potential users.

Inclusive design (or universal design) means designing products so that they can be used easily by as many people as wish to do so. This may sound an obvious goal, but the fact is that many people – some estimates suggest as many as one-fifth of all adults – have difficulty carrying out ordinary tasks with everyday products.

Many elderly and disabled people cannot carry out – certainly with
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4 Who are the users?

This section reveals that ‘users’ can include a wide variety of people – not just the final purchasers or consumers of a product. The section also makes the case for strong user representation in the design process.

Of course, it is not only me who uses the various products in my home; other people use them as well, both members of the family and visitors. Sometimes the range of users of a product, and their different needs, can be diverse. And in addition to the obvious or intend
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5.7.1 Mixed oxidant gases system

This is a relatively new system of disinfection. It involves electrolysis of high-purity NaCl brine to produce a mixture of chlorine dioxide, ozone and hypochlorite. This mixture is separated within the electrochemical cell by a membrane, or by exploiting density difference, and is then metered into the water requiring disinfection. The mixed oxidant gases are generated on demand and this is a great safety advantage, compared with having storage tanks of chlorine on site. The source for the d
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5.6 Filtration

In filtration, the partially treated water is passed through a medium such as sand or anthracite, which acts as a ‘strainer’, retaining the fine organic and inorganic material and allowing clean water through. The action of filters is complex and in some types of filter biological action also takes place. Sand filters are used in water treatment to remove the fine particles which cannot be economically removed by sedimentation. They have been effective in removing Cryptosporidium,
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3.3.1 Turbidity, colour and suspended solids

As water runs off the land, there are some substances which do not dissolve but are taken along as suspended solids. Then, depending on their sizes and the velocity of the river, the solid particles may settle out at a certain point or be carried on further. Quantities are affected by seasonal changes and tend to be higher in winter because of increased storm runoff due to higher rainfall and melting snow.

The quantity of suspended solids (measured in g m<
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3.1 Water, the medium of life

The list of necessities for the provision of life includes various nutrients and water: water is one of the basic resources needed for the process of photosynthesis. Since it is an excellent solvent, water, even in its ‘natural’ state, is never pure H2O but contains a variety of soluble inorganic and organic compounds. Water can also carry large amounts of insoluble material in suspension. The amounts and types of impurities vary with location and time of year, and determine so
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2.5 Air circulation

At this stage, air circulation enters and plays a dual role. Firstly, winds transmit moisture horizontally from one location to another. In this way, moisture derived from oceanic evaporation can be transported many miles to a land mass. Secondly, convective or vertical currents arising from unequal heating or cooling can transmit moisture upwards. When it cools, some of the water vapour condenses. It is from these currents that most precipitation develops.


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