Abstract

Unaddressed cultural elements have prevented the adoption and diffusion of many humanitarian engineering and global development efforts. Design requirements act as the link between the designer and the target users. This pilot study looks at the perceptions of student designers when making design requirements, to understand what aspects of target user culture designers consider when making design requirements. This study also looks at how a formal method that encourages designers to use the culture of the target user to assess their design requirements affects the designers’ considerations when generating design requirements as well as the design requirements they generate. A quasi-experimental case study methodology was used for this study. Using a control group and an experimental group, student perceptions and design requirements were collected and compared to uncover the cultural considerations when making design requirements, their design requirements, and the effects on their cultural considerations and design requirements post-intervention. The study showed that the use of the formal method increased the designer’s consideration for target user culture when generating design requirements. However, the findings do not suggest that the intervention method alone altered the designer’s considerations and design requirements. This study acts as a pilot study to understand experimental design limitations that will be addressed in a larger study.

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