STEPS OF THE DESIGN PROCESS
are several "Design Process" models, although most follow a
the basic outline given below.
- Problem Identification, General Specifications
- Data Collection
- Develop Alternative Designs, Tradeoffs - BRAINSTORM
- Evaluate Designs; Select Design that BEST Satisfies Need
- Develop Design and Prepare Plans for Production
- Implement Design
A need is identified. This may come from a potential customer, the government,
from within the company you work for. A "need" may be something
very necessary, such as a water treatment plant, or something people
might want to have, such as a cell-phone with Internet and GPS connectivity.
It can be for the public good or for venture capitalism.
- PROBLEM DEFINITION, GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS:
Identifying the problem is often the most difficult part of the problem-solving
process and often the most important. If the problem cannot be identified,
it becomes very difficult to solve; or if you try to solve the wrong
problem, money and time are wasted. In an academic setting, it is usually
the instructor's responsibility to identify the problem. In the working
world, it is not always clear which problem is to be 'solved.' Be sure
to clearly identify what the problem is. Gather information as to the
what specifications need to be satisfied
(these may be either client generated, or design-team generated).
- DATA COLLECTION:
What materials are available? Costs? What technologies might you have
Ask general questions to clarify the specifications or get more info
about the needs of the client, as well as general information about
the job site, or environment in which the project will be placed.
- DEVELOP ALTERNATE DESIGNS, TRADEOFFS. BRAINSTORM.
This stage is strictly brainstorming.
Do not be critical of anyone's ideas, no matter how crazy that they
may seem to you! Concentrate on collecting a variety of ideas. An idea
which initially isn't very good may lead to a really great idea in later
design process steps, provided it's not thrown away initially. Remember
that it is very important to reserve judgment in this step. Identify
one person who will write down ideas. That person must write down everything
with no editing.
- EVALUATE DESIGNS; SELECT DESIGN THAT BEST
Discuss each design option. Rate them numerically as to
how well they solve the problem. Write the ratings down or notes on
the discussion, and the reasons why you rejected or accepted certain
options. Collect more detailed information as necessary to make the
best decision. Narrow your options to the one that you will develop.
Make the decision. This can be
very difficult as there are often many competing goals and attributes
that each design satisfies. You may be limited by time, money, technology.
- DEVELOP DESIGN AND PREPARE PLANS FOR PRODUCTION:
Take the info and decisions made earlier, and develop the details of
the design. Create plans/drawings/specifications so that those who will
make the product have clear instructions. On many occasions, a part
of the design may be overlooked, or two designed parts might not fit
together. It is ideal to catch these problems before they go to the
- IMPLEMENT DESIGN (build it):
Build it. Ideally, prototypes may be tested before mass production.
D.J. Dal Bello, 2002, 2006