Materials in Products Selection: Tools for Including User-Interaction in Materials Selection
Ilse van Kesteren, Pieter Jan Stappers, Sjef de Bruijn


Products do not only discriminate from other products in functionality, but also in the way they please users. The sensorial properties of materials influence whether a product provides adequate feedback or gives a pleasant emotional experience. Designing a specific user-interaction involves selecting appropriate materials that create that interaction. However, defining which material properties contribute to the desired interaction is difficult as these are often subjective. Clients are not always able to clearly specify what desired user-interaction they want to create with the product. As a result, product designers often start a search based on unclear criteria.
The recently developed Materials in Products Selection (MiPS) tools help product designers together with clients in defining the sensorial properties of materials required to create a desired user-interaction with the product. The tools define the user-interaction via several means, namely pictures of product examples and their materials, actual materials samples, and the sensorial aspects of materials during several phases of the user-product interaction. This paper presents an evaluation of the tools with professionals and students. The results show that these tools lead to high consensus between product designers and clients during discussions and a better definition of the required materials properties.

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