Research into Problem & End-User
The first step in any project is to research the user and the scenario in which the product or system is used. Working with you as a client we will immerse ourselves in your business and the problem at hand.
Storyboarding is a useful tool to show a concept in context and in use and to understand the existing scenario. It is particularly important in the early phases of a project as a cost effective way to explore and visualise the issues to allow all stakeholders to understand your design.
In work undertaken for AWS Ocean, storyboarding was used to outline maintenance scenarios. Setting the device out to scale served not only as a visualisation to place before stakeholders but also as a reflective tool that sparked further discussion.
Distilling the problem into a clear statement, we can then decompose it into sub-problems. We would typically break down a problem using a “functional analysis”, capturing the full behaviour of the product in its environment and treating it as a whole system.
Once the problem is well defined, initial concept sketches are used to explore product aesthetics, function and user interface.
Initial CAD Modelling
Initial concept surface models will be worked up in Rhino, blocking out known volumes and components and experimenting with aesthetic surfaces. Often this will be an iterative process with sketches being drawn over print-outs of initial CAD models and then brought back into the 3D model.
Sketch Physical models
Frequent quick sketch models will advance a concept quickly and we will typically use, card, foam and 3D printing in the early stages of a project as appropriate. Prototyping is important to test ideas out and build credibility in promising directions in the design.
We would expect by the end of a phase of concept design work to reach an outline feasible design documented in CAD with some supporting prototype models, budget allowing. Embodiment of the concept into engineered mechanisms and sourced components would be supported in a further detailed design phase.