Here is a classic case study through which we can gain a better understanding about design. What is the difference between product design and mechanical design? What is common to all industrial designers?
As industrial designers we have the ability to see the “whole picture”. We are able to provide solutions that, in many cases, simplify the operation of a specific device, keeping the focus on the user whilst not forgetting the complexity of the task before us and its engineering requirements. The bridge between technology / functionality and the end user is built by the industrial designer.
We began with some rigid, functional definitions set by the engineering team which described how the system was supposed to work. However, we quickly realized that while the mechanics of the product were correct, the challenges presented by the product’s design were considerable. For example, connecting the disposable test parts was complicated and non-intuitive for the user. Additionally, the way in which they connected made it impossible to place the test into a home testing machine.
During the design process, we were able to bridge the gap between rigid functional demands and user friendliness by providing original, creative ideas that brought the finished product to impressive design heights, resolved ergonomic problems, and transformed the product from a collection of seemingly unrelated parts into a system with a clear hierarchy and that creates a harmonious connection between machine and user.
Product description: A gastrointestinal disease management platform based on a hands-free, automatic stool collection and sampling system that analyses fecal biomarkers. The 4C-Diagnostic Kit is a three-part modular system consisting of a stool-collection module, a sample preparation chamber, and a diagnostic module.
The system uses a disposal test kit that is placed into a reusable machine. In a simple process, the user places the collected sample into the machine where it is analyzed, and the results displayed.