Handy Apps for Product Design

26 Mar

 

The critical thing about the design process is to identify your scarcest resource. Despite what you may think, that very often is not money. For example, in a NASAmoon shot, money is abundant but lightness is scarce; every ounce of weight requires tons of material below. On the design of a beach vacation home, the limitation may be your ocean-front footage. You have to make sure your whole team understands what scarce resource you’re optimizing.

— Fred Brooks, author of The Design of Design.

 

Product requirements are growing complex by the day. Organising the design process pays rich dividends at a later stage.

There are quite a number of interesting applications which can help a designer , particularly an electronics engineer in organising the design process.

Planning:

Openproj  is a project management software which can help one schedule the timelines of a project.  Task oriented scheduling with individual timelines is possible while marking important tasks as milestones. Schedules are simultaneously converted into Gantt Charts, where the tasks and their timelines are pictorially represented. All we need to do is break the design process into smaller tasks and enter them in an organised manner.

Open Project

Flow Chart/UML/Block Diagram:

yEd Graph Editor is a fantastic tool for flowcharts. Hardware block diagrams as well as software flowcharts can be drawn. The user interface is very easy.

y Editor

Diagram Designer is another nice app for flowcharts. Apart from flowcharts, we can load various palettes which contain templates and symbols as necessary. A special mention must be made about Electronic Display Devices palette which contains nicely laid out Seven Segment Displays and even a dot matrix LED display.

Diagram Designer

Enclosure Modelling:

Sketchup from Google is a 3D mechanical drawing software which could be used for designing enclosures and mechanical items.

Sketchup is already popular amongst Design Spark users and needs no further introduction.

With Cetina, the front panel  cut-outs can be designed to exact dimensions.  Designing slots for SD Cards, LCD Displays, etc can be done with ease.

Cetina

Rack Designer is an interesting tool which provides a VB like interface where we could physically drag down various user interface components such as Buttons, LEDs and LCD Displays. You could even add a scope display.

Rack Designer

With the help of above and similar tools, the design process can become less cumbersome while reducing the time-to-market.

Designspark – 26/01/2012

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