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Development and presentation of the first design process model for sports equipment design

Wilson, Nicky and Thomson, Avril and Riches, Philip (2017) Development and presentation of the first design process model for sports equipment design. Research in Engineering Design. ISSN 0934-9839

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Many design industries have design process models that are specific to their discipline. However, there is currently no design process model specific to the discipline of sports engineering – the design of sports equipment. Sports equipment should aim to improve the sporting performance of an athlete, therefore the sports design process itself is likely to be highly user centred. This paper reports on a practical study and followed a rigorous, iterative approach of development and evaluation, involving both practising sports engineers from industry and academics. The process model was developed as a result of semi-structured interviews with sports engineers before progressing through an iterative cycle of development and validation with both academics and further interviews with sports engineers. The outcome is a descriptive model that is reflective of sports design practice in industry – a highly iterative design process within process stages with user integration throughout. It is anticipated that the outcome of this study could have an impact on the design discipline as a whole, as lessons can be taken from high level of user integration demonstrated in sports design.