Human Factors in Consumer Products

By Neville Stanton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX

Application of ergonomics and consumer feedback to product design at Whirlpool

ADRIAN MARTEL
Whirlpool Europe s.r.l., Biandronno, Italy
6.1 Introduction
Although it has only been known in Europe for a few years, Whirlpool is one of the world's leading domestic appliance manufacturers. Originally an American company, it entered the European market in 1992 by taking over the 'white goods' part of the Philips business. After an introductory period when products were marketed as Philips-Whirlpool, the company now markets under its own name, as two other brands-Bauknecht and Ignis-and as various 'private label' brands. Various groups perform consumer research within Whirlpool, and this chapter focuses on methods used by the Centre for Applied Product Ergonomics (CAPE) which is a part of the Central Industrial Design (CID) department. The role of the ergonomist can take either a high or low profile in the product development depending on the project, as illustrated in Figure 6.1.
6.2 High-profile Ergonomic Development
The most innovative synergy between design and ergonomics is achieved through a close working relationship between the designer and ergonomist throughout the product development process. This can generally be divided into three phases:
■ Collecting information for the design

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