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Systematic Framework to Apply Extraordinary User Perspective to Capture Latent Needs Among Ordinary Users

[+] Author Affiliations
Sujithra Raviselvam, David Anderson, Kristin L. Wood

Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore, Singapore

Katja Hölttä-Otto

Aalto University, Espoo, Finland

Paper No. DETC2018-86263, pp. V007T06A013; 9 pages
  • ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 30th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, August 26–29, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5184-5
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


This study aims to provide a systematic framework to apply emulation tools that could help designers to experience an extraordinary user perspective (users with some form of physical or cognitive impairment). Past studies have supported the impact of using tools that emulate a physically restricted scenario to evoke creativity and empathy among designers. The proposed approach for Empathic Experience Design (EED) guides designers to have better leverage emulation tools to understand the latent design needs from recommended extraordinary user perspectives. The framework combines the physical parameters involved while interacting with a product with the interaction activities associated with the product. This combination is used to select empathy tools that will provide an interactive experience by eliminating those parameters. By eliminating the identified parameters, participants tend to look at the design needs from the emulated extraordinary user perspectives. The framework was tested with a pilot study in which 37 participants (20 participants for Treatment Group 1 and 17 participants for Treatment Group 2) of ages 20–26 were asked to redesign a medical syringe. The extraordinary use cases implemented in this study are visual impairment, hearing impairment, low dexterity and single hand usage. The study not only tested the recommended systematic approach, but it also showed the application of an extraordinary user perspective to understand the general latent needs associated with medical devices that are less likely to be used by extraordinary users. The results are promising evidence that a simple systematic approach to implement empathic design tools could have a higher impact than an unguided instinct based approach to choose the tools. The results also show that, when applied efficiently, the approach could capture a wide variety of latent needs from potential extraordinary user perspectives’.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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