53.4 User-inspired design. User needs vs. mass customization

Maria Antonietta Sbordone , IDEAS Industrial Design Ambiente e Storia, Seconda UniversitÓ di Napoli, Aversa, Italy
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    <>Title: User-inspired design. User needs vs. mass customization

    Maria Antonietta Sbordone

    Researcher at Seconda Universitł di Napoli, (SUN), ITALY

    Faculty of Architecture, Department of Industrial Design Environment and History, (IDEAS)

    Monastero di S. Lorenzo ad Septimum - via S. Lorenzo - 81031 Aversa (CE), Italy

    e-mail: mariaantonietta.sbordone@unina2.it

    web page: http://www.architettura.unina2.it

    The User-inspired design can be defined as the skills relates to products and services that, in different ways, take into account the psycho-physical wellness, of human beings. These products are based on a methodology on which the User-Centred Design approach is founded.

    This approach considers the relationships and the interactions that users have with the products while they use them. This approach develops in other disciplines which are far different from the industrial design one as we know it. At the beginning of last century, the analysis of objects from a semiotic point of view spread through studies of psychology (1899) and semiology (1913-16).

    In the production scenario, modern industry transforms any material into multi-use and functional objects. Later on, having overcome the absorption threshold, and considering the productive surplus, the trend will be to reconsider the objects, giving them deep and psychological meanings.

    The new interpretative paradigms of contemporary create thought and action system meant to configure and strategically re-orientate productive asset that suit best the emerging model. From the previous economic model - characterized by good possession, keeping and conservation - immediacy, meant as acquisition, uses and immediate understanding of things and processes that are behind them, gains space. Actions overlap and mix.

    They are realized with the purpose of boosting the satisfaction of individual needs which relates to the common ones. In this way, new planning reference begins: rational technological systems, behavior flexibility, recognizability of goods.

    The research applied in order to make innovative technologies in the industrial field available, filled the human activities space with these, that link to advanced relational ideas. Ideas like the bus net, make a new type of technology and control of the installation possible. Computer and communicative system turns even more into organization needs in specific actions, allowing a degree of connection with the outside and of access to services that one could not even imagine.

    By directly involving the user in the choices, with the will to understand and spot the processes between outgoing and ingoing actions in the system, you can get better results at an emotional and at a strictly functional level. The active involvement is considered with a double meaning, "educational" and "playful" (Gilmore & Pine, 2000) referring to the managerial choices of the surrounding environment. It leads to the complete modification of the role of the user, who is no longer doomed to be a passive user lacking interest in the processes and activities that surround him, which, since are largely auto-generated, fulfill or foresee the user's needs.

    Moving from these thoughts, the target is focusing its attention on the use of the good by the user, so that we analyze the user' performances, rather than the product ones.

    The quality of the industrial products have up to now taken into account: safety, lasting, reliability, design, and, when the product is put on the market, the right relation between price /quality.

    All these quality mainly refer to the performances provided by a given product to the person who buys it. The main feature is founded on objective parameters valuable for everyone, not offering specific performances according to each and every buyer.

    The characteristic taken into account in order to assure the above mentioned qualities derive from the Human Factors (which originally were the basis of ergonomics), that, founding on the interaction man-system, include physical, social, cognitive, organizational and environmental characteristics. Later on, considering markets saturation, consumers movements and the acquired environmental awareness, the marketing re-orients its strategies, focusing on the consumer and creating the so called silent design. Meanwhile the consumer has changed his state; from passive buyer, the consumer becomes an active and aware user, a silent designer.

    The use quality of a product corresponds to the interaction forms that the man creates with the product and the context in which it is. It depends on the kind and degree of relationship that the user creates with the product and the system of activities. Once the user has acquired knowledge on characteristics, ways and terms of use, he move to the following stage, the stage of the perception of the product and its wide and shared use.

    The specific traits of the use quality of a product are, in first analysis, related to the performances provided, so to the ones typical of the cognitive usage: effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction in using experience and usability perception, traits of the psychological perception.

    Usability is defined by ISO regulation 9241-11, as (╔) the possibility that an instrument is used by a specific user in order to meet specific targets in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, in a specific use context. Effectiveness means the accuracy and completeness with which the user meets specific targets. Efficacy means the resources involved in relation to the accuracy and completeness with which the user meets his or her targets. Satisfaction means a use condition which is favorable for the user and acceptable by him or her.

    The User-Centred Design approach, a recent development of ergonomy, in relation to the area of the project, takes into account the relationships and the interactions that the users create with the products while they use them.


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