Making a difference: Integrating physiological and psychological needs in user description

DS 91: Proceedings of NordDesign 2018, Linköping, Sweden, 14th - 17th August 2018

Year: 2018
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Schröppel, Tina; Wartzack, Sandro
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
ISBN: 978-91-7685-185-2


Products particularly designed to support physically impaired people often contain for example big buttons in order to remain easy to use and handy for users suffering from diseases like rheumatism, multiple sclerosis or others. There is for example a reported prevalence of more than 31million people with rheumatoid arthritis in Europe. This condition most commonly affects the joints of the hands. However, the sales volume of specially designed products does not reflect this number of affected people. This discrepancy can result from the design of these products. First of all, they often look very unattractive. In addition, the design itself strongly implies the context of physically impaired people. This fact can lead to negative user stigmatization, which usually makes the user feel uncomfortable. Thus, it seems that subjective quality aspects are from rising importance when it comes to product usage. However, there is a gap between the consideration of physiological and psychological user demands that needs to be filled. In consequence, this gap is to be closed and both demands are to be taken into account equally. Therefore, better products can be designed for individual people. Especially physically impaired persons, which have a high demand of subjective quality, will benefit from those products. Literature already includes various methods for psychological and physiological user description. Physiologically there are norms, standards or medical tests for instance. On a psychological perspective, several methods like affective priming or the use of semantic differentials allow a better understanding of the user's attitude. Therefore the question arises, whether there are existing methods suitable to consider physiological and psychological needs in combination. This paper examines, whether there are qualified approaches that can be used to efficiently identify and compare psychological and physiological user needs. Therefore, it also interprets the compatibility between both types of user needs. Thus, this paper provides a solid base for developing a novel and integrated user-centered design approach that efficiently combines physiological and psychological user needs to improve the development of future products.

Keywords: subjective user needs, physiological user needs, user stigmatization, integrated user centered design


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