11 August 2007

What does “user value” mean?

Be the first to share

International Journal of Design
The August issue of the International Journal of Design has just been published.

It is the second issue of this peer-reviewed journal issued by the Taiwan-based Chinese Institute of Design (read more here).

Suzan Boztepe of the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, has contributed an article on the theoretical meaning of user value.

In design research, the issues of what exactly constitutes user value and how design can contribute to its creation are not commonly discussed.

This paper provides a critical overview of the theories of value used in anthropology, sociology, philosophy, business, and economics. In doing so, it reviews a range of theoretical and empirical studies, with particular emphasis on their position on product, user, and designer in the process of value creation.

The paper first looks at the similarities and differences among definitions of value as exchange, sign, and experience.

It then reviews types and properties of user value such as its multidimensionality, its contextuality, its interactivity, and the stages of user experience dependency identified by empirical studies. Methodological approaches to user value research and their possible applications in design are also discussed.

Finally, directions for future research on user value are discussed giving particular emphasis to the need of tools and methods to support design practice.

Suzan Boztepe earned her Ph.D. in Design from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2004, and has since served as an Assistant Professor of Design at Middle East Technical University. She has taught design innovation and human-centered design research methods at Pratt Institute and Carleton University’s School of Industrial Design. Her research interests include strategic applications of design, social and cultural human factors, and product localization issues. She also works as an innovation consultant to international companies in emerging markets.

I found a few more interesting papers by Suzane available for download:

  • User-value-based product adaptation (pdf, 200 kb, 14 pages), 2005
    This paper reports an ethnographic study on the use of kitchen appliances illustrating how various factors of physical and socio-cultural context influence users’ interaction with product and its value. Based on the relationship between these cultural influences and the value users derive from products, the paper proposes a user-centered framework for product adaptation. The primary drives for product adaptation decisions in the proposed framework include the consideration of convenience, compatibility, accessibility, social significance, and pleasure in user-product interaction.
  • The notion of value and design (pdf, 220 kb, 10 pages), 2003
    Globalization of businesses brings opportunities as well as failure. In today’s volatile economy, creating superior value for users is shown as a way of achieving competitive advantage. However, there is a little agreement of what exactly constitutes user value and how design can contribute to its creation. This paper examines the notion of value from sociological, anthropological, and business perspectives, reflecting on what each has to offer to design. A conception of value as a practical or symbolic benefit of a product which arises from the interaction with user and facilitates superior user experience is advocated. Finally, the role of design in creation of value is questioned and a framework for research into value is suggested.

    Be the first to share
    27 November 2015
    [Book] Research for Designers: A Guide to Methods and Practice
    Research for Designers A Guide to Methods and Practice By Gjoko Muratovski - Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand and Tongji University, China SAGE Publications Ltd, January 2016 280 pages Abstract Design is everywhere: it influences how we live, what …
    26 November 2015
    How brands design customer experiences of the future
    In today’s digital age, consumers expect more from the business they support and the products they purchase. Consumers, Macala Wright writes, not only expect great brand experiences, they believe they’re entitled to them. This is …
    10 November 2015
    Why service design is luxury’s new battleground
    Ana Andjelic writes in AdAge that most legacy luxury brands are failing at delivering service, especially online: The fact that most legacy luxury brands fail to successfully create and deliver service is unfortunate. The business of …
    10 November 2015
    For years, Apple followed user-centered design principles. Then something went wrong.
    Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini are taking their gloves off and accuse Apple of abandoning the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, proper mapping, appropriate use of constraints, and, of course, the power to …
    5 November 2015
    Customer journey mapping is at the heart of digital transformation
    Digital technologies such as analytics, mobility, social networks, cloud computing and the Internet of Things are making old ways of working redundant and forcing companies to transform. According to Raman Sapra, global head of Dell’s …
    5 November 2015
    [Conference] Design & The City, Amsterdam, April 2016
    Design & The City explores citizen-centered design approaches for the smart city. Central theme is the role of design(ers) to create opportunities and practices for citizens, (social) entrepreneurs and policy makers towards more liveable, sustainable and …
    1 November 2015
    User-centred design of the bridge of sea ships
    The Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge Design has won this year’s Ergonomics Design Award, presented by the UK Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors. The award recognises industrial design which puts the customer at the heart …
    30 October 2015
    [Paper] Who Benefits From Civic Technology?
    Who Benefits From Civic Technology? Demographic and public attitudes research into the users of civic technologies Rebecca Rumbul, Head of Research, mySociety October 2015 mySociety, 31 pages mySociety’s longterm mission is to understand the impacts of civic technologies. But …

    We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

    13 October 2015
    Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

    Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

    29 September 2015
    [Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

    As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

    2 July 2015
    Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

    A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

    5 May 2015
    Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

    Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

    16 March 2015
    Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

    Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

    1 January 2015
    Happy Playful New Year
    See all articles