I undertake applied research in educational product development from the perspectives of interaction design, visual design, and human-centered product development (also called design thinking), through the application of the Bridging Design Prototype™ approach. My doctoral project titled “Issues in Preschool Concept Mapping: An Interaction Design Perspective” included the development of this approach. A BDP facilitated the process of gaining early entry to difficult to access and technologically disinclined user communities.
The BDP approach strengthens the role of design in business by enabling small organisations with limited budgets, incomplete or non-ideal R&D teams to undertake design thinking in early product development. User communities accept to incorporate a BDP into their real activities, while a designer or R&D team uses it for learning about the community, the context, the practice. BDPs can be considered experience prototypes and provotypes. The main difference with these rapid prototypes is that BDPs must be fully functional rapid prototypes. Experimentation should not require the presence of a designer. By functional, it means that teachers, for example, must be able to use them in real activities, with their students. But, these are not necessarily minimum viable products, as the digital or tangible materials with which they are built could have a limited lifespan.
The BDP approach is used to advance two applied design research lines:
Applied research line 1
It is being developed through studies an explorations in the area of “design for learning through Bridging Design Prototypes™”. BDPs have been implemented to research issues in preschool concept mapping and how people study online. At present, I am in the concept research phase for implementing BDPs for improving algebraic skills in early primary education and enabling people with severe impairments to study online.
Applied research line 2
It is being developed through teaching and supervision and is called “strengthening the role of design in small organisations through Bridging Design Prototypes™”. The BDP approach enables my students as part of incomplete or non-ideal R&D teams to carry out a design thinking process and somewhat structure design in the fuzzy-front end phase (ideation to proof of concepts) of new product development. My students have developed BDPs for the welfare, energy, educational, leisure, and sporting industries.