What differentiates Sprout from most design companies is the way we use the user research aspects of Inclusive Design to help us innovate new products. In our experience, it is carefully observing and interviewing users who are older and less able that provides us with a rich source of inspiration for coming up with new product ideas. For the client, this is a method of generating intellectual property and gaining a competitive advantage.

Techniques we use include questionnaires, ethnographic observation, interviews, diaries, immersion, task analysis and user forums. We would be happy to explain these in more detail and see which would be most suited to your particular project. email us and arrange a meeting.

As well as stimulating new ideas, we can also use user research to validate product concepts and help develop designs. The lower photograph shows a broomhandle strapped to a pressure washer lance. This is a test rig - a physical model used to quickly try out an idea. As this concept was very successful in improving the posture of the user, the product was developed further.

As well as using user research techniques, we also have a specific methodology for considering all useability issues when designing a new product.

There are three types of impairment that people face:

1) Physical impairments (eg. weak wrists, inability to bend)
2) Sensory impairments (eg. cataracts, partial deafness)
3) Cognitive impairments (eg. learning and memory difficulties)

We have an understanding of the full range of impairments that people might have and have developed our own methodology based on this. We can also product specific methodologies for your product area and write guidelines like the ones we have written for B&Q to help you select and design inclusive products.

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Ethnographic techniques uncovered a posture problem people have using pressure washers

A simple test rig can be used with users to test product concepts. Here, a longer lance provides a vastly improved posture more on the pressure lance