Experiencing Product Use in Product Design

DS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 9, Human Behavior in Design, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Boess, Stella
Series: ICED
Section: Human Behavior in Design
Page(s): 311-322


How people use products can be quite different from the expectations of designers. This has been shown during the last twenty years, highlighting the need for designers to engage with product use during designing and proposing recommendations for this. So how do designers currently try to anticipate how people will use their products? An interview study with ten practicing designers was conducted. It asked how the designers try to aid that users are able to access the functionalities products may offer, and how the designers check whether the users really can and want to access these functionalities. The following issues emerge from the study. Designers see it as part of their competence to anticipate on product use. This is often based on intuition and professional experience. Designers could benefit from tools to reflect on this aspect more explicitly. Partly, these could be based on activities designers already do. Furthermore, product use can get crowded out of product development processes because its importance is not always made explicit. This should be addressed on a broader organizational level, although some solutions could be found in the design process itself.

Keywords: Experience, product use, interview study, design practice


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