A usable evaluation tool for designers

Andree Woodcock, Simon Fielden, Richard Bartlett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


Evaluation is an essential, yet largely overlooked component in design education. Although a more user centred, inclusive approach to design is now advocated, practicing designers may not have been trained in the most appropriate ways to evaluate their designs. Reasons for this may include lack of resources and time available in the curriculum, lack of experience of lecturers in evaluation methods and a curriculum which emphasizes design production at the expense of evaluation. Without such evaluation, iterative design may only be informed by internal critical peer review. With a wider understanding of diversity and the need to design for an increasingly wide range of users there is a greater need to understand user requirements and evaluate products with representative end users. A survey of SME developers of assistive technology products showed that they needed support in the selection of the most appropriate evaluation methods; that they may not have had much previous experience of evaluation, relied on a limited set of evaluation methods and were dependent on third parties gathering information for them. Based on previous experience of the development of paper and computer based design support tools and the teaching of research methods courses to designers, a decision support system was developed to guide the designers of assistive technology products in the selection of the most appropriate evaluation methods.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDS 69: Proceedings of E&PDE 2011
PublisherThe Design Society
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
EventThe 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Sep 20119 Sep 2011


ConferenceThe 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
Abbreviated titleE&PDE 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Assistive technology
  • Ergonomics
  • Evaluation support
  • Usability testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Education


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