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Performance Specifications

The use of specifications in design and development of children's toys.

Whenever a company decides to develop a new type of toy or children's indoor activity it must develop a brief for the new product and eventually create something called a a performance specification.

The performance specification should attempt to describe the following;

· The age range of the toy must be established early on in the design process and when the toy is marketed and sold the age range should be clearly labeled on the toy packaging.

· At the design stage the designers need to establish what the product should look like and if necessary explain why the look of the product is so important for the child.

· For the child to get the best use out of the toy and have the most fun with it whilst learning, the toy or activity may need to be played with in a particular way. The instructions for the toy's use should be clearly labeled on the packaging.

· If the toy contains an electronic circuit we may have to include the type of batteries required and explain how it can be easily removed and replaced.
Small children or babies should not be able to gain access to the battery compartment, as the battery may be small and easily swallowed.

· The choice of materials, used to make the product is very important. The way in which the toy is made will depend upon the materials used.

· The most important design specifications, with regards to children's toy design are the safety, legal and environmental requirements.
All toys should conform to the British Standard BS 5665.

These specifications can be used to check the product as it develops. The use of a specification list will ensure that you do not design and make a product that does not meet the necessary requirements. When the product is completed it is important to compare it to the original list of specifications. In your own work you may find that you have been forced to change the list throughout the designing process.