'Understanding the user in real world design applications' is the fundamental underpinning to Sharon's research and is based on a first degree in Ergonomics and Business Administration which was naturally complemented by a Master’s degree in Industrial Design (Engineering).

Following time working in industry, Sharon joined Loughborough University as a researcher in transport ergonomics undertaking research for UK government departments with a focus on: pedestrian and vehicle conspicuity, driver and rider vision and designing for road users with disabilities. Much of the emphasis of her research was on the appraisal of national and European regulations thereby enabling informed governmental policy decisions to be made concerning vehicle design.

Impacts of research:

  • An amendment to ECE Regulation 104: Retro-reflective markings for heavy and long vehicles and their trailers.
  • The development of the UK’s first national livery for police cars and police motorcycles which are now being adopted around the world and were recognised for their ergonomic merit through the receipt of the Ergonomics Design Award in 2013.

Sharon has also advised industry on the implications of an ageing driving population and it was in this respect that she pioneered the development of an empathic-modelling tool - a whole-body wearable simulation of ageing.  This was commissioned by the Ford Motor Company to enable their young designers to obtain insights into the challenges of being a ‘Third-Age’ driver.  Following the success of the Third Age simulation, further empathic-modelling tools relating to disability (osteoarthritis) and occupational health were subsequently developed.   The aim of these tools referred to as LUSKInS (Loughborough University Sensory and Kinaesthetic Interactive Simulations) is to enable those who do not have these conditions to empathise with sufferers since such direct, first-hand experience can assist in raising awareness of their needs and so contribute to the improved design of products and services.

Impacts of research:

  • The ‘Third Age’ simulation has now been embedded into Ford’s design process and is credited with contributing to the success of its Focus model.  The simulation was also used by Boeing in the design of its Dreamliner aircraft.
  • The ‘Osteoarthritis’ simulation was bought by Stannah and is being used worldwide to support their design, engineering and sales teams in empathising with their customer base.
  • The ‘Third Age’ and ‘Osteoarthritis’ simulations were displayed at the Design Museum, London.

Awards

Ergonomics Design Award winner 2013:

This was awarded by the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors in recognition of the ‘best application of ergonomics and human factors to a project, product or design’.  The judging panel comprised senior members from the Design Council, Royal Society of Arts and Which Magazine in conjunction with support from the Chartered Society of Designers. 

Queens Anniversary Prize 2007:

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are the UK’s most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution.  They are awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding educational achievement in areas of service and benefit to the nation. Sharon was part of the team which was awarded the Queens Anniversary Prize in recognition of its vehicle, road and driver safety.

Sharon is a member of the User Centred Design and the Design Ergonomics groups.

Sharon’s research interests relate to User-Centred and Inclusive Design and she has particular expertise in the application of these approaches to the transport domain.  She also has more than twenty years’ experience in the research and development of wearable simulations as a form of empathic-modelling which can be used to support the design process.  She is keen to develop her interests in this area further by: extending the application area of the current simulations; developing further simulations of health conditions and, given that the simulations are a method for communicating information, she wishes to explore the relationship between wearable simulations and learning theory.

Postgraduate

  • Transport Safety - DSP121
  • Driver and Vehicle Ergonomics - DSP117
  • Disability, Ageing and Inclusive Design - DSP114
  • Physical Health at Work - DSP105
  • Introduction to Ergonomics - DSP101
  • Ergonomics Project - DSP100

 

Undergraduate

  • Driver and Vehicle Ergonomics - DSC117
  • Disability, Ageing and Inclusive Design - DSC114
  • Ergonomics Project - DSC100
  • Cognitive Ergonomics - DSB108
  • The Mind at Work - DSA114
  • Study Skills - DSA111
  • Design and Engineering Materials Project - MPC113
  • Designing with Vulnerable Users - MPC109
  • The application and development of inclusive service design in the context of a bus service.
  • Accessibility through User-Centred and Inclusive Design Methods.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of current training methods in enhancing the occupational health of younger construction workers.
  • Exploring the development and application of creative participatory methods to co-design products for people living with dementia.
  • Helping visually impaired children run independently around a running track.

Please contact Sharon if you would like to discuss PhD opportunities relating to her areas of research interest given above.