A British perspective
David Weightman, Professor/Director, Deana McDonagh, Associate Professor of Industrial Design, School of Art and Design | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
After establishing the context of design and design education in the UK, the authors describe emerging themes in industrial-design education. These themes can be classified into three types.
The first theme involves enabling students to utilize a variety of research approaches at different levels. The design process has always involved elements of researching, but the evidence based design approach requires a new designer-friendly research tool kit to be assembled. The new tools now available include ways of eliciting user needs by focus groups and user observation techniques. We also examine how these research (with a small r) approaches relate to necessary developments in Design Research (with a big R).
The second theme involves considering how products could respond more effectively to the suprafunctional needs of users, arising from a better understanding of needs, particularly those in the emotional domain. These include the definition of product personality, to evaluate suprafunctional performance and develop a better understanding of product semantics.
The final theme centers on the changing relationship between users and designers, brought about by shifts towards user-centered design, inclusive design, participatory design and customisation. This paradigm shift, with users becoming more involved and empowered in the design process, creates a corresponding shift in our approach to design education. This paper describes the development of a more empathic approach to. The authors combine experience of education in the UK with that in their new roles in the USA, enabling them to have a distinctive perspective on the field.