Understanding Design for Dynamic and Diverse Use Situations
Mieke van der Bijl - Brouwer, Mascha van der Voort


The design research community acknowledges that usability and user experience are largely influenced by user characteristics, goals and contexts of use. For industrially manufactured products, these use situations are often dynamic and diverse. However, little guidance can be found in literature on the incorporation of dynamic and diverse use situations (DDUS) into the design process. This paper explores this issue by means of an analysis of user centred design literature and an empirical study of design for DDUS in design practice. We retrospectively studied three projects in which a product with DDUS was designed. Based on this study, we identified different effective strategies executed by design practitioners to analyse DDUS. We also observed difficulties in designing for DDUS. These difficulties include the identification of relevant aspects within this broad spectrum of use situations and sharing knowledge of product use between team members. We conclude that there is a need for guidance in the creation of flexible frames of reference of product use that evolve with solutions in the design process, particularly for design projects that cannot rely on the reuse of such a frame of reference from similar previous projects.

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