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Academic’s mobile app for designers attracts world-wide interest

A mobile app designed by a Loughborough University academic has earned international recognition for its contribution to new product development.

The app, which is changing the way designers speak to each other, was created by Dr Mark Evans and developed by Leicester-based creative agency Rock Kitchen Harris.

Called iD Cards, the app has attracted worldwide interest and has been adopted by the largest professional society for industrial designers, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).

Dr Evans, Reader in Industrial Design in the University’s Design School, said: “Turning the findings from the research into an app has enabled it to benefit designers all over the world, but this has only been made possible through the various collaborations that took place entirely in Leicestershire.”

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch and more than 3,000 Android devices, the app has been shortlisted for two of Loughborough University’s Enterprise Awards, which celebrate the University’s knowledge exchange with businesses.

The app accompanies the original paper based iD cards, which were adopted by the IDSA, with 5,000 copies distributed to its members in the USA.

With such a high demand for the reference material, Dr Evans decided to make iD cards even more accessible through a free to download iOS and Android mobile app.

Dr Evans and his former PhD student, Dr Eujin Pei, now a lecturer at DeMonfort University, came up with the idea after discovering that confusion over the names used by designers for different types of sketch, drawing, model and prototype was leading to delays in getting products to market. 

The app helps design specialists communicate with each other by standardising the language used for 32 types of sketch, drawing, model and prototype.

It also provides additional information on when these are used and what types of information, using examples of design work from Dr Evans’ student.

Kyle Bayliss, senior web developer at Rock Kitchen Harris, said: “We’re very proud of how well the app has been received and that it’s made the shortlist for an award.

“The Design School team were great to work with and we really enjoyed turning their hard work and research into a simple and engaging learning tool.”

Rock Kitchen Harris has worked with Loughborough University since 2008, on projects including an interactive campus map and undergraduate prospectus app.