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Considering People's Needs and Values

Multimedia Design and Technology Education (MD&TE) Key Stage 3 Design and Technology software includes a detailed section about research methods and things to consider when designing products, systems and environments. The considerations should include people's needs and values.

Why should we consider people's needs and values?

We should consider people's needs and values because people are more likely to want to use our products if our products meet their needs and match their values. We can find information about a person's needs and values by carrying out research.

Carrying out market research

Researching the needs and values of the people you are designing for involves finding out what they want and what they want the product to be like. 

Of the most common research methods available, i.e.

the most useful methods are likely to be interviews and surveys but useful information may also be gained by observation of the target group. (The people who will use the product).

Target Group

The target group is the group of people that you are designing for.  If you are designing for 12 year old boys, then your target group are twelve year old boys, if you are designing for people with arthritic hands then your target group have arthritis in their hands etc.

Identifying physical needs of a specific target group

The physical needs of a target group refers to the size and strengths of the people who will use your product.  The needs of babies and infants will be very different from the needs of teenagers and those of pensioners.  The needs of physically able people will be different from the needs of people who are physically disabled in some way such as those that are wheel-chair bound or are blind.  

Identifying emotional needs of a specific target group

The emotional needs of people includes their likes and dislikes, their ambitions and the way that they would like people to perceive them.  So for example, a teenager may want the best roller blades not only because they perform well but also because people will see that he/she is the sort of person that only uses the best and can handle the best.

Identifying intellectual needs of a specific target group

Identifying the intellectual needs of a specific target group means that we should look at the age and the thinking capability of the people that we are designing  for.  An infant may need simple products to play with but an infant learns quickly and is usually very curious so products designed for infants are usually colourful and are designed to stimulate imagination, learning and play.  Products designed for teenagers and adults on the other hand should be more challenging and suited to a more sophisticated level of thinking.

Identifying sociological needs of a specific target group

The sociology of a specific group refers to the behaviour of the people in the group, e.g. members of a particular club like the Scouts, a swimming club, a gang, computer boffins, etc.  The needs, likes, dislikes and dress code, hairstyles etc of the group need to be researched and taken into account when designing.

Using the information in design proposals

When designing for a particular group of people, known as our "target group", we need to use appropriate research methods to find out what the target group likes, dislikes and needs in as much detail as possible.  We can then use the information to write a precise design specification for a product that, when manufactured to the specifications, should meet the requirements of the target group.  

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The needs and user values section can be found on our KS3 D&T software.

KS3 D&T: Single User Licence £40; Site Licence £80

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