product design

The Flat World

BRIDGET MONAHAN MAYA Design Download PDF PechaKucha—This presentation explores the notion of flatness – the elision of multi-dimensionality in the lives we live, which increasingly take place online and interface through small screens. What does it mean to do research with people and understand their experiences and then to translate those experiences into flat design? Keywords: Product Design, Experience Design Bridget Monahan is a senior designer and researcher with MAYA Design, a design innovation and technology consultancy based in Pittsburgh, PA. 2016 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 535, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org...

Tangible Tools in Para-Ethnographic Fieldwork

PATRICIA LIMA SDU Design, University of Southern Denmark & LEGO Group WAFA SAID MOSLEH SDU Design, University of Southern Denmark This paper sets out to explore how tangible tools can invite industrial managers to have a say in how ethnographic fieldwork can be conducted to explore the use of products in real-life contexts. We draw upon video materials and field notes from a series of customer visits in four European countries. Our main aim is to address the following questions: How can tangible tools help facilitate dialogues in the field to bring awareness and to challenge taken-for-granted assumptions? In what ways can company managers be involved in conducting fieldwork? To what extent can we involve the participants so that they do not solely serve as informants? Our arguments focus on challenging industrial manufacturing companies’ assumptions and expectations about their customers’ use of their products, as well as bringing awareness to company managers about the advantages of ethnographic praxis instigating collaboration...

What Is a Product? How a New Definition is Leading Us toward a Place-Based Design Process

by MEGAN NEESE, Future Lab, Nissan Motor Ltd. The Product Company Identity Crisis I have always worked at or with OEMs (original equipment manufacturing companies) in the industrial design and product development industry. The work has ranged from very large products such as sleeper cabins for long haul trucks and farming equipment down to very small products in the consumer electronics industry, but consistently, the emphasis has always been on products. The very nature of being an equipment maker requires expertise in integrating parts, components, and systems into physical objects. Product development processes have always been structurally similar, focused on integration and related at some level to Stage Gate or Six Sigma. They reflect the constraints of manufacturing, in which decisions are cascading to ensure forward momentum and reduce last-minute changes that could have unforeseen ricochet effects on years of decisions that have already been made. And they work—so long as you don’t consider software, data, automation, or...

Ethnography for Smart Service Systems in Product Design

by WILLIAM O. BEEMAN, Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota In today’s rapidly changing, highly competitive world, product design requires swift translation of human needs and desires into technical specifications for the development of devices and services that meet those needs (Salvador et al. 2013). This calls for a complex integration of qualitative and quantitative data. But despite some notable successes, product design failures are today both extensive and expensive (Anonymous 2015), consuming enormous amounts of time and human labor. Any improvement to the process of product design would be of great public benefit. Many “smart systems” approaches to the product design process address the problems inherent in this process with limited success. In fact, existing “smart systems” are not very smart. There is an extensive literature available to product designers and engineers addressing lapses in strategies for the successful integration of qualitative and quantitative factors in the design process. It...

Valuable Connections: Design Anthropology and Co-creation in Digital Innovation

METTE GISLEV KJÆRSGAARD and RACHEL CHARLOTTE SMITH This paper explores challenges and potentials for innovation and co-creation within an increasingly interconnected and digitalized world, and its affect on ethnographic practices within the field of design and business development. Our discussion is based on material from an interdisciplinary research and design project with a leading computer game developer, exploring opportunities of involving online gaming communities in innovation processes and product development. Based on our case, we argue that in a world with increasingly blurred boundaries between physical, digital and hybrid contexts, as well as design, production and use, we might need to rethink the role of ethnography within user centred design and business development. Here the challenge is less about ”getting closer” to user needs and real-life contexts, through familiarization, mediation, and facilitation, and more about creating a critical theoretically informed distance from which to perceive and reflect...

Research to Reality: A Business Perspective

DAJA PHILLIPS Ricoh Innovations discovers unmet customer needs and designs and deploys hardware, software and service solutions to those needs through an interdisciplinary design process predicated on active customer participation. Some of our findings lead to new value propositions on which Ricoh planners investigate entirely new businesses. We attribute our success to our ability to translate our findings into actionable, risk-sensitive business cases tested and improved with active customer participation. We collaborate closely to weave our activities into critical product planning milestones, but retain ownership for the process of site selection, research, synthesis, business modeling and transfer to ensure success. As a result, Ricoh launched a new product line based on our research, in less than a year and our methodology is now used by other Ricoh research groups to serve Ricoh’s European and Japanese markets. The first half of this paper outlines the organization and methodology used to identify customer needs, and prove...

Designing the End

TONY SALVADOR and DEAN M. WHITNEY We consider implications for the active, intentional design of the endings of products, services, institutions and other structures and processes pervading our societies. We suggest psychological reluctance to some kinds of endings even in the context of broader social benefit. We propose direction for and encourage attention of this community to certain kinds of work designed to end some things while creating other things. We introduce the notion of “creative idiosyncratic ritualization for renewal” and propose that the EPIC community is uniquely situated to ask “strange” questions in the most “familiar” of ways to increase our collective general welfare....

Changing Models of Ownership and Value Exchange

RICHARD RADKA and ABBY MARGOLIS From cars to music, houses to handbags, growing numbers of people no longer aspire to own. Belongings that used to be the standard for measuring personal success, status and security are increasingly being borrowed, traded, or simply left on the shelf. In the last 5 years, we’ve seen massive growth in new business models in which people are willing to tradeoff the right to own a product, in the fullest sense of that term (indefinite access, right to transfer, etc.), for new kinds of social capital. Indeed the integration of social capital with commodity work has been noted as an important new mutation in the private sector. New businesses are spawning to help people make use of products that otherwise sit underutilized including the spare bedroom, the snow blower, the ladder or extra bike. These new businesses span vertical industries and appeal to audiences at a range of socioeconomic levels....

Back to the Future of Ethnography: Internal User Research at a Consumer Internet Company

ANDREA MOED The Advertising Products research team at Yahoo! is building an internal research practice within an organization that is user-centered, but optimized for consumer product development. While our fellow researchers observe millions of consumers on our websites, we study our coworkers: their experiences with the tools of online advertising, and how those experiences shape the service that our advertiser customers receive. Adopting methods such as task-oriented interviewing and extended observation, we are reconnecting with a tradition of ethnographic inquiry in the workplace that is largely unknown at consumer Internet companies. This paper describes how we have re-learned and built company support for this approach. I describe our work with Yahoo!’s advertising sales and operations staff, highlighting the structural challenges of conducting and applying this research. I conclude by reflecting on how qualitative research can help a company bridge the gap between product design capacity and the ability to produce great services....

Ethnographic Temporality: Using Time-Based Data in Product Renewal

SAM LADNER Corporate ethnography is often targeted at renewing the life of a product. Getting customers to start using a product again – or start using it in the first place – entails a deep understanding of the rhythm of everyday life. When do customers begin to use this product? When do they stop? What else is going on during this time? It is tempting to rely on the automatically collected time-data from “big data” analytics to answer this question. But ethnography offers a unique cultural lens to understanding the temporal aspects of the product lifecycle. In this paper, I provide examples of technological products that demonstrate how ethnographic insight offers deeper insight about the temporal aspects of products. I introduce the concept of the “timescape” and its three dimensions of time, and explain where some products are temporally successful and others temporally fail. I explain in the final portion of this paper, I outline ways in which digital time-data should complement traditional ethnography....

Tell Them I Built This: A Story of Community Transformation through Design, Youth, and Education

EMILY PILLOTON Good morning. I’m really excited to be here. Last time I was here, I was down the street at the Trustees Theater for all of five hours, while on a cross-country road trip. It’s nice to be back and to have a little bit more time to spend here and to tell the story — and to do so as part of the theme of a conference. What I want to do is just tell the story, and hopefully provide a little bit of context and maybe inspiration under the theme of renewal. I am the founder of this nonprofit organization called Project H. I was thinking this morning about the theme of “renewal,” what that means to me, and what that has to do with my own practice. I came from a background in architecture, and I was thinking about what I do now vs. why I got into architecture in the first place — which at the beginning was really about having grown up with a father who wanted to be an architect, living vicariously through that dream, being a math nerd, but also being really creative. Somehow architecture became this perfect storm...

Designing for Turkish Users: Analyzing the Industrial Designer–User Relationship in Turkey

ISIL OYGUR From the perspective of industrial design, user-centered design denotes more than a methodology to understand users. More importantly, it is a medium to create a relationship between designers and users. While user-centered design has much to offer, user research is not a convention in emerging economies. In this context, this paper puts one such emerging market, Turkey, under scrutiny. Six case studies give a snapshot of the current status of product design in general, and user-centered design in particular, in this country. One of the key findings is that, compared to the West, there is a wider gap between designers and users in the Turkish context. Besides economic situations, the eclectic character of Turkish culture plays the biggest role in the expansion of this gap. The application of Western oriented research methods and concentration on global trends also stand as barriers for user-centeredness. In order to ensure products’ success through research, Turkey needs to develop its own user-centered design model....

The Space Between Mine and Ours: Exploring the Subtle Spaces Between the Private and the Shared in India

ASHWINI ASOKAN Starting from their interactions within shared spaces and use of shared objects, to large social networks, the Indian society has developed a range of ways to incorporate subtle gestures and systems into their lives that neither forces them to share all their time and space with everyone, nor isolates them completely. This paper explores this idea that privacy is not always mutually exclusive from shared states. In the process, it highlights quality of time and space as a construct of subtle negotiations between the socially structured and personally desired. These subtleties allow Indians to design their lives around extensive grey spaces that exist in between the community and individual. This suggests some new ways for us to think about meaning of privacy, and its impact on how people in countries like India navigate complex social networks, cultural systems, and rigid social hierarchies, very often using technologies like phones and TVs....

From Experience Models to Immersion Tools: Transferring Ethnographic Knowledge In An Agile World

by JOHN PAYNE, Moment Introduction Like many design consultancies, Moment uses a variety of research methods to help us develop a contextual understanding of our clients’ customers. We do this to discover and adapt new business opportunities to prospects’ wants, needs and desires. The value to the business is that their products and services better fit their audience, increasing adoption and use. Tangible results from this work range from incremental product enhancements to disruptive innovations that provide significant competitive advantage. Design ethnography is how we approach “fuzzy front end” projects—those that require us to define the problem before formulating a solution. Through ethnography, our field team achieves a robust understanding of the situation, but then faces the challenge of transferring the richness of these learnings into the narrow frame of new product development methodology. This make-or-break moment of transfer is when design ethnography truly delivers—or doesn’t. Speaking for the design...