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Design Process

A diversity-driven design process works kind of like an accordion. We expand and examine many potential design solutions, evaluate and analyze them, then gather the information to create reliable, sustainable designs. We join forces with users that have reduced physical, sensory, and/or cognitive functionalities to evaluate and develop solutions together through workshops.

Traditional Design Process

Diversity Driven Design Process

The colored area symbolizes the population. On the right side is the largest consumer group; the tolerant users. To the left, the users with the highest demands on the design solution's ease of use. In a traditional design process, one often starts from an existing product and tries to improve it by studying tolerant users, consumers without any special needs. To be more inclusive, one might use oneself as a reference point and think, "it needs to work for someone a bit weaker in strength than me" when making some design decisions. The result is usually a marginal improvement, a re-design of an existing product.

The Diversity Driven Design process often leads to innovations. The key is using people's needs as the starting point for the work instead of looking at existing solutions. In a diversity-driven design process, we start by identifying the task that the current design tries to solve. After that, involving the user groups that need the most assistance to perform that task, we work directly towards meeting these consumer groups' needs by evaluating sketches, models, and prototypes regularly together with them throughout the design process. Since the final design is adapted to the diversity of human needs, the relationship between the user and the product will be stronger and last longer, which minimizes "wear and tear" behavior.


The Phases of the Design Process

Phase 1 - Research
An inclusive design process starts, just like a traditional one, by researching the topic at hand. Here we consider your concerns as a company, critical stakeholders' needs, and the users with the greatest needs.

Phase 2 - Generating Ideas
We analyze the information collected and use it as the starting point for generating ideas.
When generating ideas, it is essential not to hold back. We will think up as many solutions as possible to each need, starting by writing down features that meet each separate one and then sketch ideas based on these features.

Phase 3 - Test Models
We will present the ideas for evaluation to your company, other stakeholders, and the users in the most straightforward way possible. When it comes to packaging design, the way to gain the most valuable feedback is through building test-models, possibly presented together with sketches that further explain our solutions.
We discuss, evaluate, and further develop the ideas together with the users and other stakeholders. We then reflect on which solutions are superior based on the feedback we have received.

Phase 4 - Question Models
After the ideas are analyzed and the different overall concepts begin to emerge, many questions arise; How tall? How wide? How many? What material? Etcetera. We create multiple new models to answer these questions. Each question must be answered with a separate set of models so that, when testing, we can know to what the user responds.
The question models are evaluated together with the consumers with the greatest needs and the other stakeholders. The result is then analyzed. Different combinations of partial solutions get identified.

Phase 5 - Design Proposals
It is good to produce at least three design proposals for what the finished product could look like and its features. The design proposals are evaluated together with the consumers with the greatest needs and the other stakeholders. Often elements from different proposals are appreciated. We analyze why those particular ones and how we can combine them.

Phase 6 - Final Design
At this stage, we will know what the final design will look like and how it will function. We will evaluate it one last time to ensure that we lost no features at any point throughout the design process.


Empathic Modeling

We have developed a workshop kit to give designers an idea of the experience of using products when dealing with reduced hand functionality or vision. The kit provides some insight into what it can be like interacting with products and packaging when living with certain restrictions.

Our research shows that it can be challenging to imagine how complicated something is for a person with any kind of reduced physical, cognitive or tactile functionality before having tried it oneself. The study also shows that the combination of involving users with reduced functionality and putting oneself in their situation creates the best conditions for designing easy-to-use products.

The workshop-kit includes gloves to simulate rheumatism and glasses that mimic different types of visual reductions. Also, audio files provide an experience of what it might be like living with ADHD and Tinnitus.

Read more and buy your kit here!