Design and context : an investigation into health hardware for remote Australian Indigenous communities

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- This is an investigation into design practice via a performance enquiry into electric stoves. It explores the relationship between product use, the use context and its effect on product lifespan. It shows that the normally implicit feedback loop between product design and product use in this case of trans-contextual design is missing. The case study shows how a domestic electric product, a stove, used enduringly in suburban and urban domestic homes, fails spectacularly when placed into remote community housing. The fact that this housing is populated by Indigenous Australians has so far clouded the issue. Cultural reasons were anecdotally accepted at all levels for the product’s poor performance. This is not so. The poor nutrition and health suffered by this population, partly because of frequent and wide ranging domestic product failures can now be attributed to inappropriate product design and specification. Interrogating the stove provided empirical data identifying high use patterns that exceed, at times, weekly use-loads within a single day. It reveals that the actual use is entirely different and much higher, then the implicitly assumed use. Therefore to integrate actual use data into the design process for these contextual settings can contribute towards fit for purpose product solutions. Furthermore the implementation of an administrative feedback loop into the specification and purchasing process and through it the monitoring and assessing of expected product performance can help to ensure a reliable service is offered through the provided products.
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