Reaching Out for the Customers’ Insight: Metaphor and Storytelling in Design Process

By Cliff Shin.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

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

This paper will present a design process unfolding the customers’ insight in order to enhance the emotional level between the users and the products. The methodology enables students to focus on communicating to the users to find out what the users actually want rather than re-styling the products. The students were asked to conduct metaphoric interviews to find out the users’ needs, where metaphor plays a crucial role to derive the interviewees’ true feeling towards the given situation. Before the students had conducted actual interviews with the users, there were three tasks - designing the questionnaire, evaluating the questions, and having role play - to be done. The other activity was a storytelling process. The storytelling process has a few tasks to penetrate a particular emotion associating with the context from general imagination. Combining these two activities can help to understand the users’ unconscious feeling and thoughts, which cannot be answered by questions. This process wipes out the students’ common fear toward poor sketching, which leads to user centered design. Another benefit is that a stronger bond can be developed between the product and the user’s specific feeling from an initial stage of product development. The paper will examine each component, discuss the reasons behind each component, and illustrate the overall design process with additional activities. Also, it will demonstrate how to implement each component to the different stages in real projects or the classrooms.

Keywords: Design Process, Emotional Design, Design Education, Design Research, Design Methodology

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.11-17. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 691.991KB).

Cliff Shin

Assistant Professor, School of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA

Cliff Shin is an award-winning designer and assistant professor of industrial design in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. He received a bachelor's in manufacturing engineering technology from Arizona State University and Master of Arts in industrial design from Purdue University. He worked for LG headquarter Design Center at Seoul as a senior designer with expertise in consumer electronics, consumer behavior and emotional design process. His main research area is emotional design based on decision making and consumer behavior. Also, he actively consults in the area of consumer electronics design.