UNSW Built Environment Industrial Design: Adam Long

11 05 2009

Well the semester keeps rolling and the assignments keep coming! These last few weeks I’ve found myself designing everything from water tanks to sports watches to mountain bikes! One of the things Industrial Designers focus on is consumer behaviour – how people interact with products, disobey instructions, break them or use them in completely new ways! Because I am designing an electric charging system for electric cars, I wanted to understand how people interact with fuel pumps, so last week I spent some time following people around service stations, observing the ways they use petrol pumps in order to identify the design issues with the existing system. You would be amazed how many people leave behind their petrol caps in an hour!

Consumer behaviour is a fascinating subject, and in Industrial Design the people are more important the products. There are lots of interesting ways to engage people in the product design process, beyond just the regular market research interviews. Jan Chipchase, who works for Nokia, runs “design your dream phone” competitions in the poor communities of India, trying to identify their aspirations. Me on the other hand, I will have to settle for participatory design workshops – getting my friends and family together with lots of lego, cardboard, glue and fabric, and having them build their own dream electric car charger. That’s next week, should be fun!

Heres some pictures of some backyard water tanks I designed last week:

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