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User Preferences in the Design of Multi-Purpose Products: A Case Study on the Redesign of a Utility Tool

[+] Author Affiliations
Vimal Viswanathan, David Alexander, IV

Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

Shraddha Sangelkar, Johnathan Brock Moody

Pennsylvania State University, Erie, PA

Paper No. DETC2016-60014, pp. V007T06A045; 10 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 28th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, August 21–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5019-0
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


There is an abundance of multi-purpose products in the market. Multi-purpose products are defined as the artifacts that have more than one primary function. While some of the multipurpose products are well designed and successful in the market, many of them fail to make an impact. Many times, these products are designed without considering critical aspects of customer requirements into account. The current research in design theory and methodology primarily addresses the design of products with one main function and many supporting sub-functions. When more than one primary function is present in the design, the process becomes more complicated. Many times, the primary functions conflict with each other, making the design process further complicated. Motivated by this fact, we aim to develop a comprehensive design method that considers the user’s perspective for the design of multi-purpose products. As a first step, we developed a set of guidelines from a user point of view. This paper presents a case study where the authors redesigned a multi-purpose utility tool, which has a very high potential and a targeted audience. The original design process behind the product is studied with the help of the designer and the manufacturer. The newly developed guidelines are repeatedly applied on the product to derive new requirements for its redesign. Following a systematic redesign procedure, the product is redesigned. This paper details the case study along with the lessons learned from the same. It also describes the best scenarios for the use of the multi-purpose product design guidelines.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Topics: Design , Preferences



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