Lens: Type:

A design is already implemented. How well did the design work? What were the intended and unintended outcomes?

building viewed through a lens

Products, services, and systems are designed for people to use when completing activities. Research to evaluate the effects of design outcomes reveals how effectively people were able to achieve their intended objectives. This research often shows how a designed outcome’s features were constructive for an activity. Still, it can also bring to light unexpected and even unintended consequences that resulted from the outcome’s use. Evaluating design outcomes produces data that can suggest what needs to be redesigned, what people would be more ideal users for a design outcome, and what settings may be more appropriate for its use.

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Designing Based on Evaluation Research

Evaluating design objects is an integral part of an iterative design process. This work involves studying how design functions people use design to complete activities in different contexts. Here are a few evaluation-design decision pairings that demonstrate this concept.

Train Station at Rush Hour


Evaluation: The train station is very busy at 6:30 a.m. In just a 10-minute period, I saw five people get lost and miss their trains.

Design Decision: Let’s look into designing better signage and other ways we could reduce people getting lost. We can’t change the building, though—it’s a historic building.

Wine Packaging


Evaluation: The new, boldly-designed wine bottle packaging gets a lot of attention on the shelf at the local grocery superstore.

Design Decision: The next variety should also feature bold packaging.

Bike Rack Problems


Evaluation: Bike riders attach their big-tire mountain bikes to trees, rails, and signposts and never use the provided bike rack.

Design Decision: The slats in the bike rack are only built for road bike tires. The bike rack needs to be redesigned to accommodate bigger tires.

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