Prototyping and Testing During an Assistive Sports Equipment Development Process
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An important part of the development process is to validate ideas and concepts continuously. Within physical design, this is primarily done by creating prototypes and testing them. This process is especially important within assistive technology development as the design team rarely can identify with the end-user. Both the prototyping process and the testing can however be performed in countless ways. This thesis aims to answer what method to be used when creating prototypes, and how they should be tested. Both prototyping and testing methods was tried out on two products under development of the company Exero Technologies. Set-based prototyping, the process of creating set-based prototypes, and rapid prototyping were all methodologies used with different purposes. Several prototypes were created using each method, trying to solve different problems. The processes were then compared trying to answer which to use when. Each prototype was tested using different testing methodologies and information gathering techniques. The methods, in-house testing, long-term testing, short-term testing, workshops and event testing were all used on different prototypes. These were combined with information gathering techniques like observations, questionnaires, and thinking aloud. The participants consisted of the authors, potential end-users, and care-givers. The results indicates that each of the methodologies presented are valuable in its own way. The thesis concludes with the advantages of the different methodologies and when they should be applied.