Designers and manufacturers use product analysis to help them develop ideas for new or improved products and to analyse the work of other designers. Quality assurance is a system of checks and inspections to ensure high standards throughout design and manufacture.
Analysing a textile product involves asking three questions.
- Is it fit for purpose?
- Does it meet the needs of the target market?
- How well is it designed and made?
Designers will consider these questions when analysing both their own designs and the work of other designers. Answering the three questions above will normally involve an evaluation of the following criteria:
- The product's design specification, based on the requirements of the target market and the manufacturing facilities available. Does the product measure up to it?
- The product's target market. What are their needs?
- The product's performance: ie, how suitable it is for its end use and what are its aftercare requirements?
- The quality of the fibres, fabrics and manufacture: eg, how adequate are the stitchings, fastenings and seam allowance?
- The product's aesthetic appeal or stylistic qualities.
- The product's price. Does it give value for money?
- Any safety or moral issues. Does the product conform to safety regulations? What is its impact on the environment?
Designers often start by looking at the work of other designers and analysing the choices they have made. They consider how successfully the product meets these criteria and what could be changed to improve it.
In order to analyse a textile product you will often need to sketch the front and back views, work out and sketch the pattern pieces and work out the order of assembly of the pattern pieces.
Designers and manufacturers evaluate on an ongoing basis during design development and while manufacturing. It is essential to compare your developing work against the design specification and to make and record judgements, improvements and users' views.
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Evaluating graphic products
Evaluation means assessing a product and it is done throughout the design and production process. To evaluate a product, a number of questions have to be considered, such as:
- Does the product meet the specification?
- Does it meet the needs of the user?
- Is it fit for purpose?
Designers need to evaluate their own products and products that already exist.
Products can be evaluated against the original specification through testing. This can be done by using the product, performance testing, and testing for appropriateness.
1. Using the product
This involves asking the following questions:
- Is the product easy and convenient to use?
- Does it do its job?
- Does it appeal to the user?
2. Performance testing
The product is tested to see that it meets its specification. The following questions are asked:
- Does it do the job for which it was designed?
- Does it fit into the place where it is used?
- Does it meet other specification requirements?
3. Testing for appropriateness
This is a check to see if a product meets the needs of the user and the environment. The following questions are asked:
- Does it suit the needs of the user?
- Are the materials used transported over long distances?
- Is it made in the local area?
- Is it made from renewable energy sources and materials?
- Are the use of the product and its disposal after use, friendly to the environment?
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