Dynamics and diversity in use: Implications for aesthetics and usability

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
DS 62: Proceedings of E and PDE 2010, the 12th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - When Design Education and Design Research Meet, 2010, pp. 230 - 235
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The ease of use or usability of a product depends not only on product characteristics, but on the user characteristics and environment in which a product is used as well. Products that are used in varying use situations therefore have to meet varying usability demands. In our research on dynamics and diversity in use we study the means by which designers deal with these demands. In the course human-product relations of the bachelor Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) of the University of Twente, students learn to view and explore the relations between humans and products. These relations can consider aesthetics value, influence of behaviour and usability. When considering the dynamics or diversity of situations in which a product is used this does not only have implications for usability, it influences aesthetic relations as well. Our research on dynamic usability therefore allows for exploration with regard to implications for aesthetic demands. In the course these topics were brought together in a half-day multidisciplinary workshop. The topics were explored by means of theory and exercises. This paper gives an overview of this theory and is illustrated by exercises executed during the workshop and results of the design assignment (street furniture) in which students had to apply the theory. The collaboration in education between researchers in the fields of usability and aesthetics resulted in both interesting design education and inspiration for future research.
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