Supplier Websites: Could They be Inspiring to Lighting Designers?
Jarmila Anna Kopecka, Sicco C. Santema, Erik Jan Hultink
This paper describes an exploratory pilot study on the usefulness for designers of three lighting manufacturers’ websites. All three websites contain sections that are specifically directed at professional lighting designers. This study’s first objective is to investigate whether designers experience the websites' content as conducive to the generation of new product ideas. Second, this study hopes to ascertain whether designers perceive the websites as an information source which they could habitually turn to for inspiration. Accordingly, this study addresses both the designer’s physical attitude (i.e., the usability driven) toward the websites, as well as the cognitive and emotive aspects of a designer’s information seeking and use. To obtain this, we requested the designers to produce their own lighting design concepts while taking guidance and inspiration from the websites. The resulting design proposals formed the departure point for interviews and designers’ self-reflection, and revealed the experiences of designers with the websites based on the information and inspiration found or wished for. This exploration revealed that the designers prefer the role of co-developer to the role of user. In addition, being able to contribute directly to the website content was perceived as adding greater value to the website.
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