- EIGHT PHASES OF THE INFORMED DESIGN CYCLE
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Similar to the Scientific Method or the Problem Solving Process, the Design Process can be shown in as few as three steps or broken down to as many as twelve or more steps. Each step is typically iterated multiple times to obtain the best and final result. Experienced designers tend to skip around inside the process with multiple iterations of the various steps as needed.
Technological design, as a rational process involving planning and production of artifacts and systems, goes back to the beginning of civilization. The pyramids, early ships, and canals are examples of technological design. It was not until the last two centuries, however, that technology has emerged as a discipline characterized by a combination of prior experience, rules of thumb, mathematical reasoning, and scientific knowledge. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) defines design in the Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs as “the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences and mathematics and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet a stated objective” (ABET, 2000)1.
We will be using the Eight Phases of the Informed Design Cycle to show more clearly defined phases.
As you work on each step of the design process, all of the information that is collected should be recorded in an engineer’s notebook. This method is used to formally document, in chronological order, all work that is associated with the specific design project. Each page is signed and dated for verification.
The process of design also includes a variety of ancillary considerations: How and where the product will be created along with sustainability, standards, ethics and risk assessment must all be reviewed. As potential protection against liability for future expense after the product is sold, companies are now becoming certified by ISO 9000 standards to verify that their products are reliable, made to standards and environmentally manufactured.
Part of the design phase also includes evaluating the methods and processes to produce the product to determine the machines, the method of production and the production procedure or layout. The cost of the machines, the operating costs and the overhead costs are also factored into the amount that an organization would need to know in order to make a profit.
The phases of the informed design that you will learn about include:
Phase 1: Clarify the problem, specifications and constraints.
Phase 2: Research and investigate the problem.
Phase 3: Generate alternative designs.
Phase 4: Choose and justify your optimal design.
Phase 5: Develop a prototype.
Phase 6: Test and evaluate the design solution.
Phase 7: Redesign the solution with modifications.
Phase 8: Communicate your achievements.
1 Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. (2000). Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs: Effective for Evaluations During the 2000-2001 Accreditation Cycle. ABET. Baltimore, MD.