Designers and manufacturers use product analysis to help them develop ideas for new or improved products and to analyse the work of other designers. Quality assurance is a system of checks and inspections to ensure high standards throughout design and manufacture.
Analysing a textile product involves asking three questions.
- Is it fit for purpose?
- Does it meet the needs of the target market?
- How well is it designed and made?
Designers will consider these questions when analysing both their own designs and the work of other designers. Answering the three questions above will normally involve an evaluation of the following criteria:
- The product's design specification, based on the requirements of the target market and the manufacturing facilities available. Does the product measure up to it?
- The product's target market. What are their needs?
- The product's performance: ie, how suitable it is for its end use and what are its aftercare requirements?
- The quality of the fibres, fabrics and manufacture: eg, how adequate are the stitchings, fastenings and seam allowance?
- The product's aesthetic appeal or stylistic qualities.
- The product's price. Does it give value for money?
- Any safety or moral issues. Does the product conform to safety regulations? What is its impact on the environment?
Designers often start by looking at the work of other designers and analysing the choices they have made. They consider how successfully the product meets these criteria and what could be changed to improve it.
In order to analyse a textile product you will often need to sketch the front and back views, work out and sketch the pattern pieces and work out the order of assembly of the pattern pieces.
Designers and manufacturers evaluate on an ongoing basis during design development and while manufacturing. It is essential to compare your developing work against the design specification and to make and record judgements, improvements and users' views.
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Authenticity control – research and preparation may be completed under limited supervision. However, all work, with the exception of research and preparation, should be completed by students under informal supervision. This means that the centre must ensure that plagiarism does not take place, that sources used by students are clearly recorded and that each students' preparation for the final production of the work is his/her own.
Feedback control – teachers may review students' work and may provide advice at a general level. Teachers, however, must not provide detailed and specific advice on how the draft may be improved to meet the assessment criteria. The nature of any guidance provided and the details of any feedback given must be clearly recorded. Students may be guided as to the approach they might adopt but the outcome must remain their own. Likewise, feedback may evaluate progress to date and propose suggested broad approaches for improvement but the detailed correction or annotation of work for feedback purposes is not allowed.
Time control – each student should produce a design folder (paper or electronic) and a completed outcome. It is expected that the total activity should take approximately 45 hours to complete, including preparation but not including additional time for the teaching and learning of the subject content. We are keen to encourage succinctness and a focussed approach to this task and for this reason it is expected that the design folder should consist of approximately 20 pages of A3 paper (or the A4 or electronic equivalent). Examinations Officers should contact AQA Candidate Services for advice on any students who may need special consideration and, therefore, may require additional time.
Collaboration control – the work of individual students may be informed by working with others, for example when undertaking research, but students must provide an individual response in the task outcome.
Resources – students' access to resources is likely to be determined by the availability in centres. Examinations Officers should contact AQA Candidate Services for advice on any students who may require the use of any special equipment.