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This content will become publicly available on August 30, 2024

The success of a design is not determined solely by its technical aspects. A design must work for the people who will be using it and in the context in which it will be used. Human-centered design approaches suggest strategies to remind engineering designers of the people impacted by their design decisions. While many of these strategies can be used within and across multiple design phases, during the act of sketching concepts during concept generation, there are few explicit strategies for centering people. We investigate possible impact from a simple intervention during a concept generation task through a between-subjects experiment. Working alone is a single design session, half of a group of mechanical engineering students were asked to explicitly “represent people” within their conceptual sketches. Afterwards, all students reviewed each of their concepts to answer, “Who is this idea for? Who do you imagine would use it?” Those who received the intervention requiring representation of people within concept sketches produced significantly longer reflections with greater depth compared to the control group. Adding drawings of people to sketches resulted in more consideration of the social and physical context of use and of the user's personal preferences and values. Depicting people in generated concepts substantially reduced claims a design is "for everyone,” suggesting explicit representation of potential users produced more thoughtful consideration of diversity among potential users.  more » « less
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International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
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International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
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National Science Foundation
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