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Standards Australia Evaluation Criteria

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AUSTRALIAN DESIGN AWARDS



DESIGNMARK ASSESSMENT REPORT


GREYPOWER TECHNOLOGIES PTY LTD


MAGIC SALON SYSTEMS

INDEX NO. 98601
ISSUE DATE: 5TH DECEMBER, 1997
 
 

CONTENTS

 
Executive Summary
The DesignMark Program
Section 1: The Design Process
Section 2: The Product
Section 3: Production
Section 4: Product Life Cycle
Summary of the DesignMark Panel
Decision of the Assessment Panel
Product Citation
 
 
Up EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 
The National Manager of the Australian Design Awards has considered the recommendation of the Assessment Panel held on 1st December, 1997 and has agreed to confer the Australian DesignMark on Magic Salon Systems presented by GreyPower Technologies Pty Ltd. The report on which this decision is based, including the conditions which apply to this decision, is attached.
 
 
Up THE DESIGNMARK PROGRAM
The Australian DesignMark product endorsement program encourages good design and offers a comprehensive and rigorous assessment of products by a selection of industry and design experts. This assessment report includes valuable feedback from the panel. This feedback may assist future product development.

Where the Australian DesignMark is granted, the product will be considered for the annual Australian Design Award which recognizes excellence in design. Australian Design Award-winning products represent a benchmark of design excellence for all Australian enterprises. The one Design Award-winning product which surpasses all others in achieving design excellence will receive the Australian Design Award of the Year.
  1. The DesignMark rewards good design.
  2. The Australian Design Award recognizes products which have achieved excellence in design.
  3. The Australian Design Award of the Year recognizes the highest degree of design excellence.
The DesignMark product certification program considers both the product and the design process.
Products which achieve DesignMark certification represent examples of good design and offer additional benefits to the end user.

The DesignMark assessment of the Magic Salon Systems examined four key factors:
  1. The design process.
  2. The product.
  3. Production of the product.
  4. Product lifecycle.
The next section details the panel's considered opinion in relation to the specific questions raised and also details the panellists suggestions for possible product improvement.
 
 
Up SECTION 1: THE DESIGN PROCESS
The object of this section is to confirm that GreyPower Technologies has put in place an organisational structure which delivers products which will fulfil their corporate aims. The framework for this assessment is taken from the general principles of ISO 9000 in relation to product design. It is not necessary for the company to have achieved external accreditation to pass this section.
 

1.1 Involvement of Key Personnel

Many people in a commercial organisation are required to contribute their skills to the successful creation of a new product It is not necessary that they are involved all of the time, but where their area of expertise or responsibility is involved they must be formally recognised and included in the terms of reference of the development team.

The panel considered that GreyPower Technologies had involved all key staff both internal and external in the product development process.
 

1.2 Team Empowerment

Having selected the team that will develop the product, it is necessary to ensure that the team members understand their role and responsibilities in relation to the task at hand. A formal meeting to empower this team would be expected.

The panel was satisfied that such a meeting did take place and the team formed to develop Magic Salon Systems was given the necessary authority to carry out the task.
 

1.3 The Brief

 

1.3 a) Company Objectives

The key to a successful product is a brief which includes all of the commercial and technical factors as they relate to that company, its available resources and the market requirements of the product under development. A good brief is essential for developing a successful product.

On this occasion, the panel considered that the brief developed by GreyPower Technologies was appropriate to the aims and resources of the company.
 

1.3b) Software development in accordance with AS 3925

Software products specifically developed for a single client should be developed and manage in accordance with AS 3925.

The panel recognise that Magic Salon Systems has not been designed for a single client and therefore AS 3925 is not applicable.
 

1.4 Market Research

Even where companies have a long standing association with a particular market or market segment the use of independent market research can lead to valuable feedback. This research is essential to developing a successful brief

Based on the information provided, the panel is satisfied that GreyPower Technologies sourced market research which showed a need for the product.
 

1.5 Concept Generation and Evaluation

The generation of concepts is essential to the exploration of possible design solutions. Thorough evaluation of these concepts/solutions is an important part of the design process.
After considering the information provided in parts a), b) and c).


The panel were satisfied with the process of concept/solution generation and evaluation.
 

1.6 Formal Review

The process of review ensures that the original corporate goals for the product are not lost as the project proceeds. There may be many informal reviews carried out, but there must always be one final formal review where the original team approve the product for final production.

The panel concluded that the original development team reviewed the prototype/solution against the original brief before proceeding.
 

1.7 Testing

Testing is a vital step in confirming whether the specifications of the brief have been met or exceeded.
 

1.7 a) Alpha Testing

The panel found that suitable alpha tests were conducted.
 

1.7 b) Beta Testing

The panel found that suitable beta tests were conducted.
 

1.8 Archives

It is considered essential that an archive of the development process is created and maintained as the project proceeds to assist in the recovery of important information.

The panel is satisfied that suitable archive records were created and maintained during the development process.
 

1.9 Documentation

Most organisations recognise that it is good management practice to document the product development process. Documentation is also a key requirement of ISO 9000 which stipulates that every stage of the design and product development process is documented at the time each decision is made. It is expected that the level of documentation will vary with the size of the company and the type of product involved.

On the evidence provided the panel found that GreyPower Technologies documentation presented shows a clear audit trail through the development process of Magic Salon Systems and conforms with the general requirements of ISO 9000 for documentation.
 
 
Up SECTION 2: THE PRODUCT
The product is the link between the company and its customers. It is the reason for the company's existence and it is the quality of the product which will determine the company's success. This section defines the attributes of the product which set it apart from its competitors.
 

2.1 Product Presentation

The panel were asked to form a general opinion of the product as displayed, written application and the verbal presentation and on the day of assessment.

The panel concluded that Magic Salon Systems as displayed was well finished and presented.

The panel concluded that the written application was well presented.

The panel concluded that the verbal presentation was of a high quality.
 

2.2 Innovation

Product innovation may reduce competitive pressures and allow for larger margins than competition between generic products. New features can be linked with brand recognition to build customer loyalty.

The panel concluded that Magic Salon Systems displays the following innovative feature:

The barcoding system.
 

2.3 Consumer Benefits

The panel was satisfied that the benefits claimed were realistic and advantageous to the user.
 

2.4 Product Aesthetics

All products must conform to user expectations and aesthetics play a vital role in the success of a product.

Based on the information provided, the panel felt that Magic Salon Systems meets the market expectation for visual appearance and is clearly differentiated from its competitors by the use of colours and tailoring the system to the audience is an excellent concept.
 

2.5 a) Market Expectations (Packaging and Promotional Material)

In addition to the primary function of protecting the product in transit and in storage, the packaging can also assist in the promotion of the product. In considering the packaging and other promotional material-

The panel concluded that the packaging and promotional material was equal to its principal competitors.

The panel recommends that GreyPower Technologies hire the services of a professional graphic designer to redesign the barcode sheets.
 

2.5 b) Critical Components

Many products/services rely on components sourced from third parties. Product liability could be incurred as could loss of reputation when third party equipment supplied as part of the solution fails.

The panel is satisfied that no critical third party components are included on the GreyPower Technologies product.
 

2.6 System Platform

The choice of system platform is critical to the efficient operation of the product and must also be chosen with future needs in mind.

The system platform has been investigated by the panel and found to be suitable.
 

2.7 User Skill Level

The skill level of the intended user must be considered at the design stage of the product. Making the product accessible to a wider group of user skill level can extend the scope and potential of the product.

The panel is satisfied that Magic Salon Systems has been well designed with the skill level of the user in mind.
 

2.8 User Interface

There is now a user expectation for uniformity of interface which aids quick acceptance of the product and promotes rapid productivity gains.

The panel is satisfied that the interface is intuitive.
 

2.9 Training & Support

Training and support of the product can be archived in many ways.

The panel consider the training and support to be suitable for Magic Salon Systems.
 

2.10 Safety

Product safety is paramount in product design.

Based on the information provided to the panel, and in their opinion, there are no areas of safety which need to be brought to the attention of GreyPower Technologies.
 

2.11 Ergonomics

All product must consider user ergonomics especially in the workplace where there is a safety consideration. Keyboard based products must still consider user ergonomics and provide guidance to users.

The panel is satisfied that the designers have considered the user ergonomics. The product uses standard off the shelf equipment.
 

2.12 Environmental Impact

All products have an impact on the environment, whether by virtue of the resources needed for manufacture or the further consumption of resources during its useful life. Reducing these inputs by way of good design is good for the manufacturer and the environment.

In this context, the panel considers that Magic Salon Systems has not altered the existing environmental impact for products of this type.
 

2.13 Standards and Codes Compliance

It is a requirement of the DesignMark program that the product and company areas under assessment comply with all current relevant standards and industry codes.

The panel note that GreyPower Technologies complied with all programming standards and codes.
 

2.14 Patents and Design Registrations

It is recognised that Patent Protection and/or Design Registration is not a guarantee of commercial success, but may be a sensible commercial tool to protect a company's market position and intellectual property.

The panel commends the efforts that GreyPower Technologies is employing to protect its commercial interests by way of using an internal or external card which secures the software preventing the system to be operated on any other machine.
 

2.15 a) Export Potential

The panel acknowledge the export potential of Magic Salon Systems and commends GreyPower Technologies.
 

2.15 b) Import Replacement

The panel consider that Magic Salon Systems has import replacement potential.
 
 
Up SECTION 3: PRODUCTION
Production is a key component in the overall delivery of the product. For this reason the Designmark assessment considers only the final product as the user would receive it and not a pre-production sample or a prototype. The principal issues are the realisation of the designers final concept and the conformance with the highest standards of quality for manufactured goods. An important consideration is the environmental impact of the production process.
 

3.1 Production Process (Hardware)

Development of a new product offers the opportunity to consider the introduction of innovative manufacturing techniques and/or technology.

The panel found that Magic Salon Systems is produced using innovative technology and commends GreyPower Technologies on the following:
  • The way in which the barcoding system is used.
  • A subtle teaching technique.
  • Providing management skills.
  • Pushing the limits of what the system can achieve.
 

3.2 Quality System(s)

Quality systems are recognised as essential tools in improving product quality and developing sound business practice. The system in place must be appropriate to the scale and needs of the company.

The panel note that GreyPower Technologies manufactures to an informal quality system similar to AS/NZS ISO 9001.
 

3.3 Sub-contractor Quality System(s)

It is common for manufacturers to use sub-contractors in one form or another. A sub-contractor that uses a recognised quality system is generally to be preferred to one who does not. In either case the manufacturer is still under an obligation to inquire into a sub-contractor's quality system and also have in place its own system for confirming the quality of the product received from a sub-contractor.

GreyPower Technologies does not employ sub-contractors.
 
 
Up SECTION 4: PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
The product life cycle is becoming an increasingly important consideration in product design. There is a growing consumer awareness of whole of life issues and a growing demand for products that have an extended life or can be recycled. The competitive business environment now demands fuller consideration of warranty and after sales support not only as legal obligations, but also as business tools to secure and maintain customer loyalty.
 

4.1 Product Promotion

No product sells itself. Promotion can take many forms and is dictated by the product, company resources and the intended market.

The panel commend GreyPower Technologies on its promotion of Magic Salon Systems and consider it an example to others. Advertising, seminars and the use of the internet were highly commended by the panel.
 

4.2 Physical Distribution

As with promotion many methods may be used to ensure the product reaches the point of sale and ultimately into the customers hands.

On this occasion the panel found the distribution method for Magic Salon Systems to be highly appropriate.
 

4.3 After Sales Support

In addition to the primary role of assisting the consumer to use the product, after sales support can be used to add value to a product or differentiate it from its competitors.

The panel commends GreyPower Technologies for providing a comprehensive after sales service.
 

4.4 Upgrade Policy

Software product differ from other manufactured products in that they are constantly subject to Revision whether planned or unplanned. The company should have a clear understanding of these issues from a customer perspective and should have a policy in place to cover the most typical situations.

The panel found that GreyPower Technologies has a clear and workable upgrade policy.
 

4.5 Warranty

Warranty issues are normally regarded as minimum legal obligations. Extended warranties are being increasingly used as marketing tools. With reference to the period of the warranty and the principle exclusions.

The panel is satisfied with the warranty offered by GreyPower Technologies on Magic Salon Systems.
 

4.6 Complaints Resolution

Complaints handling procedures vary from the non existent to the highly structured. The new Australian Standard AS 4269-1995 Complaints Handling should be considered by all enterprises before establishing their own complaints procedures.

The panel is satisfied that the complaints procedure used by GreyPower Technologies is suitable and beneficial to the company and customers.
 

4.7 Environmental Risk/Policy

An environmental policy is desirable to prevent the committing of an offence under various environment protection legislation. An environmental Management System offers the means for companies to demonstrate the ways in which they monitor their performance and lessen their impact on the environment.

On this occasion the panel concluded that GreyPower Technologies has a sound and responsible environmental policy.
 

4.8 Packaging and Recycling

Growing environmental focus concerning product packaging and recycling are leading to tighter controls and voluntary codes to reduce waste. It is now common practice in Europe for the supplier/manufacturer to be responsible for the retrieval and disposal of all packaging materials. Packaging design should consider materials and assembly/disassembly techniques that aid easy recycling.

The panel commend GreyPower Technologies for its efforts to reduce unnecessary packaging and the efforts it goes to responsibly deal with packaging issues.
 
 
Up SUMMARY OF THE DESIGNMARK ASSESSMENT
 

Section 1: The Design Process

 
The Design process employs all the methodology required and more, to produce professional results that take into account the end users needs, therefore creating a successful well designed product.
The system has been built for the end customer satisfaction and not for the technically minded. Magic Salon Systems operates as a work flow system and walks the user through the programme providing prompts and guides through the processes.
The panel commented that the screen design semantics are not totally intuitive. For example on the invoice screen they would prefer to see the visual guide highlighted as you move through the functions to visually distinguish this area from the other menus.
 

Section 2: The Product

 
The product semantics and instructional design issues have been carefully researched and implemented and have produced an efficient cost effective solution to what on the surface can be an extremely complicated and laborious task to do manually.
The panel commended GreyPower Technologies for developing a superb management tool for hairdressers. Magic Salon Systems is a subtle way of teaching people how to run their business.
Very well thought through.
 

Section 3: Production of the Product

 
Product innovation has utilised the best programming methods by taking into account the various platform issues effectively by eliminating the need for complex operating systems (DOS).
The company has and is in the process of producing the next more visually appealing GUI (graphic user interface) for the Win95 platform without compromising and having the need to re-write the software.
The main area of innovation is the fact that the operator can successfully navigate and use the potential of the software without the need of complex instruction.
 

Section 4: Product Lifecycle

 
Product lifecycle of the Magic Salon System has potentially fully utilised all possible methods of guaranteed assurance of updating the software regularly via the use of universal access to the world wide web and full product database updates from a large majority of suppliers.
 
Up DECISION OF THE ASSESSMENT PANEL
 
After due consideration of the outcome of the investigation into each of the four key areas defined by the DesignMark assessment criteria, the panel recommends that the DesignMark be granted without conditions and congratulates GreyPower Technologies on its dedication to designing and producing quality products.
 

MANDATORY CONDITIONS

 
None.
 
The panel put forward the following non-mandatory recommendations for the ongoing development of the product.
 

NON-MANDATORY CONDITIONS

 
  1. The panel commented that the development of the GUI in the next generation software for 32bit operating systems (Win95) needs a graphic designer/multimedia specialist to produce a similar elegant professional visual approach that works in conjunction with the existing software base structure without altering the superb functionality of the software semantics.
  2. The potential for a CD-ROM tutorial disc could be a value added bonus for training skills of the operators which will consummately add another angle to GreyPower Technologies's product range thus keeping training copyright within the company.
  3. Version numbers on printed documentation should match the version of the software.
  4. Improve screen design for visual cues.
  5. Employ the services of a professional graphic designer to redesign the barcode sheets which would enhance the professionalism of the packaging. The panel suggested colour coding, printing on coloured paper etc.
 
Up PRODUCT CITATION
 
The panel agreed that GreyPower Technologies may use the following citation which surnmarises the outcome of the assessment.

The product design is extremely well thought out for the industry that it targets -"Hairdressing" therefore making it a commercially viable and valuable tool. It is obvious that all attention has been focused upon the need for an intuitive program that takes into account the needs of the end user and not the programmer with the added bonus of subtly teaching the user the fine art of good business management with all the necessary tools required for sensitive information security.
 
Some of the panels comments
  • "A very good, well constructed program targeted for a specific client group".
  • "The product impressed me as being well designed with the needs of the customer being the primary driver. A very comprehensive and well thought out solution".
  • "The product is well researched in terms of client useability, and meets expectations of target market".
  • "A total business package".
Howard Blizzard
Howard Blizzard
Chairperson
 
NOTE:
This report is issued by the Australian Design Awards (ADA) and is based on the recommendation of an independent panel convened to examine the product and processes of the applicant company on behalf of ADA. The assessment of the product was based on information provided by the applicant company and was not independently verified by ADA.
The granting of DesignMark and the use of the DesignMark logo are subject to a licensing agreement between GreyPower Technologies and the Australian Design Awards a division of Standards Australia.

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