Understanding users in product development

DS 71: Proceedings of NordDesign 2012, the 9th NordDesign conference, Aarlborg University, Denmark. 22-24.08.2012

Year: 2012
Editor: Assoc. Prof. Poul Kyvsgaard Hansen, Professor John Rasmussen, Assoc. Prof. Kaj A. Jřrgensen, Assoc. Prof. Christian Tollestrup
Author: Geert Jensen, Birgitte; Antvorskov, Helle
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: 1: Aalborg University, Denmark; 2: Design Society, United Kingdom
ISBN: 978-87-91831-51-5


The consumers expect the packaging to be functional and to fulfil their specific needs in every way. A Danish survey showed that at least 40 per cent experience difficulties, when handling and opening packaging at least once a month, and as a consequence, 16 per cent of the consumers refuse to buy the product next time they go shopping [1]. The issues are worsening due to the expansion of the elderly population in the upcoming decades all over the world. In Denmark the amount of people in the age more than 65 years old will rise to index 170 in 2050 compared to 2010 [2]. It is also noticeable that 680,000 people in Denmark have difficulties and feel pain using their hands, which account for 17 per cent of the adult population [3]. Therefore, the chance of excluding a part of an enterprise´s target group is very likely, making easy-to-open packaging more relevant than ever. The project “User-driven Guideline for the Industry: Accessible Packaging for Elderly and Disabled” seeks to address these issues. The main deliverable is a web-based guideline. The guideline contain collected knowledge regarding the attitudes of the consumers and issues to address about packaging design, also, the guideline contain a step by step process to develop easy-to-open packaging. The guideline is constructed in a way that allows the enterprise to pick and choose in respect to the enterprise´s needs and competences. The main focus in the development of the guidelines has been to produce a tool that function in a practical manner instead of communicating the absolute scientific truth. The paper outlines, the user-centred approach taken to address better packaging design and explores the potentialities to deliver innovation from the user's perspective. A concrete case from Tulip Food Company shows that video observations is a tool for user understanding and that the first step towards better packaging, goes through consensus in the organization regarding the need for more easy-opening packaging.

Keywords: User Friendly packaging, User research, Inclusive design


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