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The Prototype for X (PFX) Framework: Assessing the Impact of PFX on Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability of End Designs

J. Menold, T. Simpson, and K. Jablokow
2016, ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference

Each year, companies spend billions of dollars on product research and design. Studies indicate that anywhere from 40–50% of those resources are wasted on cancelled products or those which yield poor results. The largest sunk cost of product development occurs during the prototyping phase of the design process, yet engineering design research has largely overlooked this pivotal stage in the design process. This study is a portion of a larger project based on a new theoretical framework for prototyping called Prototype for X or PFX. PFX draws from Human-Centered Design (HCD), Design Thinking (DT), and Design for X (DFX) frameworks and methods to enhance the design process and enable designers to prototype more effectively. Among the anticipated impacts of PFX are increases in user satisfaction, technical quality, and manufacturability of end designs. The research described in this paper marks the first step in testing the impact of PFX on final design outcomes. Results from a between-subjects analysis indicate that PFX methods helped increase the desirability, feasibility, and viability of end designs. These results imply that teams introduced to PFX methods produced prototypes that outperformed designs from the control teams across user satisfaction, perceived value, and manufacturability metrics. These results improve our understanding of the prototyping process and highlight the potential impact that structured prototyping methods could have on end designs.