Criteria for New-generation User-centered Design Methods

By Frederik W.B. Hoolhorst and Mascha C. van der Voort.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Most definitions of design confirm that the designer’s biggest challenge is to create designs that meet the mutual interests of both users and manufacturers. Although this challenge will remain the core activity of design over the coming years, design assignments become increasingly complex because of several technical and social changes. As a result usability needs are seen as new key-drivers within the design process. Furthermore an increasing amount of products is developed by large multi-disciplinary teams which ask for new organizational qualities of designers.
Most existing user-centered design methods (UCDM) however show applicability lacks in a design practice that moves towards multi-disciplinary, user-centered product design. Most UCDM only focus on the efficiency and effectiveness of the design process, but seem to neglect the development team who uses the methods, the influence of the context in which design is performed and the characteristics of the design problem. This paper presents an overview of criteria for a new-generation UCDM that supports the designer in both creating usable design solutions as well as performing high-level design activities. These criteria take the changing design practice into account.

Keywords: User-centered Design, Usability, Complex Design Team, Design Method

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.145-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.137MB).

Frederik W.B. Hoolhorst

PhD Student, Department of Design, Production & Management, Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, Enschede, Overijsel, Netherlands

Frederik Hoolhorst (1979) is a PhD student at the department of Engineering Technology of the University of Twente (NL). As a participant of the Design for Usability program he focuses on research regarding the development of new design methods. His research project offers him the opportunity to approach his interest in product usability in a more scientific way. Frederik received a bachelor degree from The Hague University of Professional Education (NL). After a one-year traineeship at the Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen (G), he graduated as an industrial design engineer at the Delft University of Technology (NL) in 2005. Afterwards he gained two years of experience as a product developer at GE Plastics and turned back to university in June 2007.

Dr. Mascha C. van der Voort

Associate Professor, Department of Design, Production & Management, Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, Enschede, Overijsel, Netherlands

Mascha van der Voort (1974) is an associate professor at the Laboratory of Design, Production and Management of the University of Twente. She is leading a research group on Scenario Based Product Design and User-Product Interaction. This group aims at the development of scenario-based design methods and tools to support designers in obtaining a complete and reliable overview of the design problem to be solved in order to improve user – product interaction. Concurrently, she has been teaching courses regarding human factors, usability and research methods within the Industrial Design Engineering educational program of the University of Twente.


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