Usability heuristics and their role in designing vehicles-A case study of an electric-hybrid vehicle body design

Pradeep Yammiyavar


Morphologies for designing vehicles and their bodies traditionally rely on engineering optimization of variables such as strength of materials, structural rigidity, loading characteristics and manufacturing constraints, to name a few. Combined with automotive engineering and ergonomic safety standards such methodologies have limited scope for incorporating user-desired or utility-led innovations, especially during conceptualization. Often local utility-based requirements and usage characteristics conflict with global safety and engineering standards. Resolving such conflicting issues normally results in longer designing cycles. This paper presents through a case study an alternative design conceptualizing
morphology based on usability heuristics as practiced in the field of industrial design. Usability heuristics are formulated based on user studies and are used to specify product attributes which are later on developed into physical product features not only from the appearance but also from engineering point of view. This paper attempts to show through the vehicle design case study how usability heuristics can integrate with engineering specifications to form an usability engineering morphology that facilitates reduction in design conceptualization cycle time and simultaneously increase the scope for utility-based innovation.


Conceptualization; industrial design; chassis; body design; usability engineering morphology

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