Understanding Everyday Design Behaviour: An Exploratory Experiment
Soyoung Kim, Henri Christiaans, Chajoong Kim


Everyday design (ED) involves the reuse of existing products for new purposes. This behaviour can be easily observed in our everyday lives but has hardly been recognized as a means to stimulate sustainable behavior. Although several in-depth studies in this area has been conducted to understand people’s behavior, they were mainly focused on theory building. Our study, however, is based on the idea that everyday design is one of the tools for professional designers to inspire users to sustainable behavior. Therefore, the study aims to understand how and what product elements and affordances trigger people to perform everyday design. Everyday design normally happens in a natural situation, but because we wanted to have control on the input variables, we did an experiment, in which four basic everyday products were offered to 27 participants with the task to come up with an ED product for each of those four products. A total of 108 ED products were repurposed, followed by interviews. The results indicate that ED products can be reused for various purposes beyond their original functions. The trigger for those ED products were often form-related product elements. The paper shows how these elements are related to affordances. Although affordances of original products are often the trigger for their ED, almost half of the ED products were triggered by hidden affordances. Although it is an explorative study, the conclusion is that the findings may help design practitioners to increase the sustainability of their products through stimulating their reuse.

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