The benefits of user trials for usability testing and developing an understanding of a user centred approach to design is well documented and widely recognised in the commercial world. This paper details how the author has incorporated user centred design principles via the practice and theory of user trials primarily into undergraduate Industrial Design education and the benefits the approach has generated. Importantly, the undergraduate user trialling subject has run in a similar but ongoing and developing format for ten years continuous within the University setting. This continuity and longitudinal aspect has allowed for feedback and reflection to be incorporated into the on-going refinements to the subject and projects. Observations by the author and feedback from students demonstrate the positive outcomes of this subject; from understanding and applying relevant methods to the awareness that designers themselves are not good examples of typical users and those typical users will in fact use products in various unexpected ways. The benefits of user trials become obvious to students when they see users interacting with their product. The project’s learning outcomes build on fundamental content for Industrial Design students and links directly to core industrial design subjects and design research methods. The project has become one of the most successful in the Industrial Design course, and consistently receives positive feedback from students. The project generates student interest by involving them in a hands-on project, and is highly effective in meeting its learning objectives. This paper details the theoretical background, relationship with the overall curriculum and design of the project, as well as giving some practical examples of student work.
|Title of host publication||ConnectED 2nd International Conference on Design Education|
|Place of Publication||Australia|
|Publisher||The University of New South Wales|
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|
|Event||ConnectED 2010: 2nd International Conference on Design Education - Sydney, Australia|
Duration: 28 Jun 2010 → 1 Jul 2010
|Conference||ConnectED 2010: 2nd International Conference on Design Education|
|Period||28/06/10 → 1/07/10|
Trathen, S. (2010). A user centred approach: case study links between contemporary practice and design education. In ConnectED 2nd International Conference on Design Education (pp. 1-4). Australia: The University of New South Wales.