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About

Study project where different methods for involving the main user in the design process were explored.
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Tool
Study project
Challenge
Find a problem that calls for new solutions, by researching a specific group of users and their  workspace.

Approach
We visited a local auto-mechanic and took use of methods from ethnological fieldwork to get beneath the surface of the mechanics and their daily routines in a short time. The methods we use were ‘Shadowing’, where we acted as ‘flies on the wall’ to get a general understanding of the workshop and the mechanics, without disturbing their routines. Then we used ‘Situated Interviews’ and ‘Acting out’ based on our new insights, which   consisted of semi-structured interviews at the  workshop, that allowed the discussion to involve elements in the use context and to ask the mechanics to perform certain operations, while describing the reasons behind every step.
We wanted to involve the mechanics as much as possible during the design process, as they are the experts and the main users of the final product. We therefore arranged sessions of brain- and
bodystorms in context and used Cultural Probes to explore their tacit knowledge. These methods did not only give us profound knowledge, but created an important bond between us and the auto
mechanics, to make the entire collaboration more
fruitful.
We used the inherent tools of SolidWorks in combination with manual calculations, to support the development of our solution. This included for us
to reach an understanding of plastics and metals in terms of possibilities for construction and production-methods.

Result
A new add-on for an impact wrench - the right hand of the automechanics – and a proposal for a new environment, that will service the mechanics throughout their work.