Designing Pleasurable Products: An Introduction to the New Human Factors

By Patrick W. Jordan | Go to book overview
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In the last chapter a framework was outlined that, it was suggested, could be used for structuring thought when approaching the issue of pleasure with products. A number of examples demonstrated how products could be pleasurable, or displeasurable, by providing, or failing to provide, particular benefits to those who experienced them. Looking back at those examples, it seems probable that some of the benefits provided by these products were the result of conscious design decisions aimed at providing the particular benefit. Other products, however, may have carried special benefits as a result of 'happy accidents'-perhaps because of the historical and social context in which the product was introduced, or because the product just happened to 'click' with a particular group of people.

The aim of this chapter is to demonstrate an approach to creating pleasurable products 'by design' rather than 'by accident'. The chapter will look at how to understand people holistically and, having done so, how to understand what benefits particular people would want from particular products. The chapter will then look at how to move from a product benefits specification to the creation of a design that fulfils this specification.

Understanding people holistically

The starting point for pleasure-based approaches to human factors is to understand the people for whom the product is to be designed. Traditional, usability-based approaches to human factors tend to look at people in terms of their cognitive and physical abilities. The assumption behind usability-based approaches tends to be that if a product is designed so that the demands on the user of interacting with it fall comfortably within his or her physical and cognitive abilities, then the product will be usable for this person.

Whilst the benefits of design for usability are not in dispute, usability-based approaches tend to encourage those involved in product creation to take a rather limited view of people. Looking at people merely as 'users' may create a paradigm in which the person is seen merely as a component within a working system-a system consisting of a product, a user, a task and a


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Designing Pleasurable Products: An Introduction to the New Human Factors


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