A task based 'design for all' support tool
2006-06-13T16:22:14Z (GMT) by
The ‘Design for All’ philosophy promotes the development of products that meet the requirements of a broader section of the population, including those who are older or disabled, to minimise the need for bespoke designs and individual customisations. Such an approach begins to meet the needs of a population containing an ever increasing proportion of these excluded groups, whilst providing opportunities to manufacturers to maximise the available market for any given product. Most design activity embodies some form of task analysis that involves identifying users and the tasks they perform. Computer based human modelling systems are becoming increasingly important in this task analysis role combined with the established ergonomics technique of fitting trials, in which a product or environment is evaluated through trials using a carefully selected user group. This research addresses the lack of existing data necessary for the accurate representation of human form and capability in the older and disabled populations for use in these modelling systems. A small-scale survey is being undertaken to collect this important information. In addition, existing modelling systems in this area rely on expert ergonomics knowledge in performing task based analysis, which in addition can be a time consuming and repetitive task. Methods are being developed to streamline this process and to place the emphasis on good design and ergonomics principles as opposed to ‘driving’ the system. These methods involve the development of a simplified process for computer based task analysis and a means of determining the percentage accommodated by any given design. Further research will eventually focus on extending the data collection, refining the task model and look at a means of suggesting design solutions in response to the analysis results.