LJ Create approached us to design and enclosure that would improve the aesthetics and user experience of their Autoboard Enclosures; an educational product used to train automotive technicians. The end product needed to be capable of housing one of thirteen different PCBs whilst protecting it against the workshop environment it would be stored in.
We began with a detailed specification, which allowed us to provide the client with several appropriate concept designs. We wanted the enclosure to be simple and straight forward to use, and decided to include a transparent lid that allowed the user to quickly identify which PCB the enclosure contained, and also acted as a support to tilt the unit to a comfortable viewing angle. After concepts were approved we produced functional, aesthetic prototypes for field testing, and moved on to refinement for production.
The end result is an ergonomic, aesthetically robust enclosure with several features; the hinged lid can be folded back to allow the user to tilt the working area toward themselves, integral feet in the side of the product allow it to be stored upright on a shelf so as not to damage the main faces of the unit, and the clear lid allows the user a quick view of the contents.
The enclosure is designed with ultimate flexibility in mind to allow fitting of thirteen different PCBs, and a range of additional electronic features which are yet to be designed.
The design and development process consists of various stages, which may differ from consultancy to consultancy but basically follows: design brief, design specifications, concept design, detailed design, prototyping, testing, refinement and manufacture.
Although this process may be second nature to designers, what about their clients who have never undertaken a product development project before? It’s a case of guiding them through the process, building up a relationship of trust and managing their expectations, as Derbyshire product design consultancy PDG undertook recently in a project with new client LJ Create.