Students' approach to user needs analysis
Author(s)Li, Emily Y. (Emily Yiqi)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Maria C. Yang.
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Various methods exist to help engineers and designers determine user needs as part of the user-oriented design process. Many of these methods are taught in engineering design classes throughout the country. By following the progress of 18 groups of student teams in a product design project-based class at MIT, it is found that students' awareness of these user-needs methods is critical, as students are more likely to use a method based on their familiarity with the method than their opinion of the method. While many student teams choose methods that are easy-to-use, such as interviews, those teams that choose methods based on their appropriateness found more insightful user-needs information. In addition, through several case studies, it is shown that the teams that choose the more appropriate methods are then more likely to use the gathered user needs and incorporate them into well-designed products. Thus it is important in engineering design education to familiarize students with the breadth of tools and methods available to them through every stage of the process, and reinforce the importance of using the appropriate methods in design.
Thesis (S.B.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 2008.Includes bibliographical references (leaf 18).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology