In Chapter 3 the stages involved in creating pleasurable products were outlined. In this chapter, a number of methods for use in the product-creation process are described. The methods can be used for understanding people, for understanding what benefits they want from products, for understanding how to deliver this through the design and for evaluating design concepts. The methods described are not all equally suited to each of these purposes. Each of the methods has particular properties that affect its suitability for use at different stages of the design process and under different operational constraints. These include, for example, the time, effort and level of skill required to use the method, the facilities and equipment required and the number of participants needed in order to gather useful information. They also differ in terms of the sorts of information they are suited to gathering-for example, some may be particularly useful in understanding people, others in evaluating concepts, others in setting the product benefits specification and others in specifying the experiential or formal properties of a design.
The basic structure of each method is outlined, along with hints as to when it is most beneficial to use each of the methods and the extent to which a product concept must be developed before each method can be applied. The methods also differ in terms of the nature and quality of the data that can be gathered from their application. Some may, for example, be well-suited to gathering accurate noise-free data, whilst the strength of other methods may be in their utility in gathering data that reflects the real-life context in which the product is experienced. Similarly, some methods may be more suitable for gathering quantitative data and others qualitative data.
Two of the methods are non-empirical. These methods require no participants at all-the investigator simply uses a structured approach in order to make judgements about how pleasurable or displeasurable a product is. However, most of the methods do require participants, and these are known as empirical methods. In the context of usability evaluation, it has been argued that there is no substitute for seeing people using or trying to use a product (Jordan 1998). The same may be true of evaluating the pleasura-