Development of a Design Probe to Reveal Customer Touch Points in the Sale of Mass Customised Products

By Kate Herd, Andy Bardill and Mehmet Karamanoglu.

Published by The Design Collection

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

“Roll over, Henry Ford. Today you can have any color you want, as long as it’s the one you want” (Gilmore and Pine 2000, pvii).

As mass customisation (MC) increases in both popularity and accessibility, it raises questions as to the nature and notion of the customer co-design experience; what is a ‘co-design experience’, and how can this be best designed for? This paper posits that by its very nature, a co-design experience consists of activities that relate to the co-design of the product via the product configurator (physical store, online store etc), but also that a co-design experience is broader than that, comprising both tangible and intangible elements, and encompassing the entire purchasing experience from the beginning of co-design activity through to the receipt of the customised product and beyond. Traditional research methods will often fail to capture the entirety of this experience. This paper highlights the need for empathic research methods which go beyond current research within the field of MC, and discusses the development of a design probe used to gain insight into co-design experiences.

Keywords: Customer Co-designer, Mass Customisation, Mass Customization, Empathic Design, Design Probe, Customer Experience, Design Research, Touch Points

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.193-208. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.074MB).

Kate Herd

Lecturer, Product Design and Engineering, Middlesex University, London, UK

Kate Herd is a lecturer in the Product Design and Engineering department at Middlesex University. Her PhD ‘The development of conceptual models for designing for co-design in mass customisation’ is investigating the customer co-design experience, developing models and tools to inform the process of designing for co-design. Utilising design probes, her work appears to be one of the first in the field to explore the entire customer co-design experience, utilising empathic research methods and theories from the field of product design

Dr. Andy Bardill

Director of Product Design and Engineering Programmes, Product Design and Engineering, Middlesex University, London, UK

Andy Bardill is a principal lecturer in Product Design and the Director of Product Design and Engineering Programmes at Middlesex University. His current work and research interests include: Interaction Design, affecting human behaviour through environmental design, mass-customisation, and the robot apprentice

Dr. Mehmet Karamanoglu

Principal lecturer and head of the Product Design Research Centre, Product Design and Engineering, Middlesex University, London, UK

Mehmet Karamanoglu is a principal lecturer in Product Design and Engineering and head of Product Design Research Centre within the School of Arts and Education at Middlesex University. He is also a Visiting Professor at University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. His research and scholarly interests include mass customisation, mechatronics, design engineering, discrete event simulation, manufacturing automation and robotics in the creative industries


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