Incorporating rural users in small-scale growing container development: a case study.
If the users of products developed for them are incorporated in the design process it is more likely that an acceptable and usable outcome will be achieved. A user-centred design process places a stronger emphasis on user involvement. In cases where the users live far away from the design facilities, certain logistical and financial constraints become apparent because an iterative process of feedback and development is required. Against this background, the Department of Industrial Design at the University of Johannesburg chose a project to use as case study to analyse the iterative design process. The case described in this article is a project which involves the development of small-scale agricultural products for users in a rural area of the Limpopo province. This development is being undertaken by the University of Johannesburg with the aim of developing water-efficient growing systems suited to the people in the area. Studying this project required multiple field trips allowing for observation, data gathering and prototype implementation. This article examines the strategic objectives of each of the role players who assisted in undertaking the research in an attempt to identify shared interests and provide recommendations and concerns associated with developing products for people in rural areas.
Key words: user-centred design, industrial design, product development, agricultural extension.