Project Design: Think Of Your Audience


Not long ago, I went off on a little rant when I was provided links to a couple of videos about a “simple” project.

The audience for this particular organization (I’ll keep the name to myself) is supposed to be pretty much beginners with minimal tools and who want to finish projects as quickly and efficiently as possible. This project didn’t match the audience.  

Several issues I had with the project:  

– It used a material that wasn’t readily available or just lying around, as the video host just happened to have (cherry plywood), and is expensive. Then the cherry veneer was defaced as part of the project design. Blasphemy!  

– It used a cutting technique that can be difficult to master for intermediate skilled folks and not even close to being attainable by a beginner  

– It used a “clamping” method that isn’t the easiest and no clear mention of using fasteners in the assembly  

– It required tools that beginners most likely wouldn’t have nor be able to use well enough to accomplish the task  

– No instruction for making a particular integral part needed in the project  

This project ticked me off not only for the above reasons, but also for the nonchalant manner in which it was presented. The comments on the videos reflected this, as well as the level of difficulty and requirement for expensive tools.  

As a professional project designer, builder, and writer, I took great exception to the presentation and the project. Now I admit, it’s quite easy to play Monday morning quarterback on a project design – I’m sure there are plenty of my projects that are torn to shreds later by folks that I never hear about. But I always have justifications for my projects, whether it be the skill level needed, or the fact that I may have certain limitations or requirements necessitated by the particular client.  

I take great care to make sure that the plans created are also repeatable – sort of like the scientific method approach to experiments. What’s the point in making a plan or demonstrating a project if I would be the only one who could get the result consistently each time I did it?  

In future blogs I’ll detail my approach to project design in relation to skill levels to sort of “clear the air” on this pet peeve.

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Published in: on April 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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