The making of a product is not the easiest to do but can be simplified by following the Design Process. This process provides a step by step procedure on the development of a product. These steps are listed below.
1.) Define the Problem
The first step is to define the problem that is trying to be solved. This sounds easy but can sometimes be difficult if the problem is unknown. This basic step sets the stage for the following steps.
2.) Research the Problem
The next step is to research the problem. This step includes finding all the specifications and constraints for the product. During the research process, it is also important to find previous solutions for the problem. These ideas can help spark ideas or guide you towards a better solution. It is also very important to research what materials can be used so that the designer knows what is available.
3.) Brainstorm Solutions
Brainstorming is best done with a group of people. This is when everyone pools their ideas together and discuss the pros and cons. Many ideas can come up during brainstorming and need to be reduced to the top couple of ideas.
Prototyping is very important to see how well the idea works. One should start designing a functional device for each of the top ideas from brainstorming. These devices do not need to be top quality but are made to prove an idea works and how efficient it would be.
5.) Fabricate the Product
Once a final design is chosen from the prototyping stage, the next step is to finalize the idea and fabricate it. The finalization of the product consists of choosing the final shapes and dimensions needed for the product. After this is done then the product can be fabricated.
6.) Test and Redesign
Finally, once the product is fabricated, testing needs to be done to make sure that the product does everything it is supposed to and fits all the specifications. Testing of the product can show new problems with the newly made device. These problems can be fixed by going through the design process again. This cycle should theoretically keep on occurring until there are no new problems that arise.
Improving the Design Process
It is hard to think of ways to improve the Design Process since it covers the basic steps for how to make a product. If I could improve the process in any way, I would make it a requirement to work in a team. With multiple minds solving a problem many different ideas can arise that one person could not have thought of all by themselves. With many ideas, the higher the chance of finding the best solution to the problem.
One of the most significant topics in my opinion that we have covered in the Technical Communication class was design principles. Although many would believe designing documents is arbitrary and not significant in the grand scheme of the effectiveness of the document, this is not the case. A document is greatly influenced by how it is designed. For example, a single document could be designed many different ways to appeal to different audiences. An audience that does not have a high education would not bother reading a document with an abundance of large and complicated words. This audience instead would be subject to a more topic and answer based document which may be easier to read. This type of document is concise while a Technical Memo for your boss may be longer and use more technical terms. Design elements such as proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast allow documents to be better organized and therefore more effective to their specific audience.
In the Mechanical Engineering field document design is of the utmost importance. Technical documents are commonly created by Engineers to present new technology to the public and the company the Engineer is working for. Due to the broad audience of Engineering documents I must be able to not only write, but also design each and every document specific to the audience and their culture. In doing so many confusions such as language and cultural ethics can be avoided while also providing the needed information clearly and concisely to all consumers.
By Troy Giberson
One thing I learned in class that I think I will help me in my future is how to identify your audience and gear your product/presentation/etc. to fit their profile. When it comes down to it the customer is the one you’ll have to please, so if you don’t know what pleases them you won’t know how to go about pleasing them. This will help me in my later work experience because my knowing my audience I will be able to help create and think of new ideas that will attract the right kind of audience that will benefit the business I will be working for. It will also help me become a better employee and help me, look like a hard working and good part of the business.
I feel as though one of the topics that we’ve covered in class that has changed the way I approach my work is Inforgraphics. Graphics are the pictures in technical communication: drawings, maps, photographs, diagrams, and tables. An infograph can be considered as a visual representation of information. Infographics help explain information in an easier way. Instead of having to write out every part of a machine, a picture of the machine with parts labeled will help the audience better understand the information. If the writer just writes out the information of parts, the audience will have to use their imagination to see where the part would lie on the machine. Whereas if there was a diagram of the machine that is labeled, the audience could understand what the writing is saying, and be able to see the part in the diagram. This will clarify information to the audience. Lastly, infographcis help with the idea of how to express information. Sometimes creating a table with information is better than writing out a list, or a diagram would help express information better than a photograph. This topic will help me in the future to understand how, as an engineer, to express information to a certain audience. It all depends on who the audience is, to determine how to express the infograph. You don’t need every equation shown to a customer to describe how the product works. Instead, a picture or diagram of the product with step-by-step instructions will explain the information to a customer must easier than the equations used to determine the product.
One of the topics that we covered in class that is most likely to stick with me through my college career was the topic of infographics. I found out not only what infographics can be used for and how to use them, but to actually create them myself. I tried various infographic templates to produce the ideal infographic, that still I could not come up with. I learned how things can work in your mind, but not in reality, exactly like mechanical engineering technology. Things can work perfectly in your mind but when you try and manufacture that part or mechanism, it might not work. And just like the infographic you have to just take a step back and approach it from a different angle until it is satisfactory. I plan on using infographics for future presentations and to show group members data I’ve found or collected as well. I think that learning how to produce infographics was one of the most beneficial topics we covered in this class.