The development of an anthropometric data tool for use in the conceptual design of domestic products
To design a product that people can use effectively and safely a designer must understand the physical characteristics of humans. Measures of the characteristics of human physical function are defined by anthropometry. Unfortunately some designers carry misconceptions about anthropometry and are sceptical of the benefits of its application to product design. This is confounded by the lack of data on minority groups such as the elderly who are becoming increasingly influential in determining the functional requirements of products. The anthropometric software systems that are presently available to designers have been ineffective in providing designers with appropriate data in a format they can use.
A new methodology is proposed for the presentation and retrieval of anthropometric data for product designers. The methodology uses a novel application of task analysis techniques to establish the anthropometric data that describes the physical demands of users.
The methodology defines the interaction between the product and the users in performing a task by breaking it down into its distinct actions. Then the physical demands of an action are defined using generic descriptors. These selections and the users' parameters are used to select the related anthropometric data. The parameters of the environment that interact with the product are then used to express the anthropometric data in terms of the functional limits of the product. This enables the selection of appropriate anthropometric data to describe the physical demands of the users and presents the data in a format that can be effectively applied in the product development process.
The methodology was validated using a two stage analysis. In the first stage a sample of designers assessed the qualitative and quantitative performance of the usability of the implementation of the method. In the second stage the effectiveness of the methodology was assessed by performing a comparative analysis with an existing system.
- School of Art and Design