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Use of biomechanical data in the inclusive design process : packaging design and the older adult

Carse, Bruce and Thomson, Avril and Stansfield, Ben (2010) Use of biomechanical data in the inclusive design process : packaging design and the older adult. Journal of Engineering Design, 21 (2-3). 289–303. ISSN 0954-4828

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Abstract

Biomechanical data may be used to inform the design process to ensure Inclusive Design. Yet many products are clearly not designed inclusively, one possible reason being that biomechanical data are not used, is not available or offers insufficient benefits to merit integration into the design process. This study investigates designers’ use of biomechanical data to inform the process of Inclusive Design in the consumer packaging industry. Packaging design professionals were interviewed to elicit information regarding their use of biomechanical data and to establish if they followed Inclusive Design principles. Biomechanical data were collected using observational study and customised force and motion measurement tools. Finally, biomechanical data were presented to the designers to establish the best/preferred format for use in the design process. Biomechanical data were rarely used by the designers and Inclusive Design principles were not routinely incorporated into company procedures. There was clear preference for visual data with imagery of real subjects. Most quantitative force and motion data formats were considered to be unsuitable for routine use due to commercial priorities and lack of technical appreciation. The use of biomechanical testing to develop standards to allow Inclusive Design may be the way forward.