Perceptions of the Design Process: An Examination of Gendered Aspects of New Product Development

Alice M. Agogino, Catherine Newman, Marisa Bauer, and Jennifer Mankoff
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

A study to examine students’ perceptions of the design process was conducted in the freshman/ sophomore class E39D: Designing Technology for Girls and Women at the University of California at Berkeley. The course covered gender issues associated with new product development from a human-centered design perspective. Students worked in multidisciplinary design teams and participated in interactive workshops with target users and industry sponsors. The class was taught as part of Berkeley’s Virtual Development Center sponsored by the Institute of Women and Technology ( and supporting companies in the San Francisco Bay area. Three forms of data collection techniques were used: interviews, questionnaires and a design process assignment. Evaluation showed that students developed a strong belief that `good design’ dictates that technology can and should serve all members of the potential user population, including those traditionally under-represented in technology. Finally, students showed an increased level of confidence in technology and an increased comfort level working on design projects.


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