chapter  4
11 Pages

Design Centered Research into User Activities

In order to generate supportive insights for the design of domestic products, usage oriented research focuses on what people do and how and why they do it, in terms of perception, cognition, use-actions and effort. The observation of these user activities is cumbersome and difficult to achieve, as distinct from the identification of human characteristics which tend to combine good measurability with limited design relevance, acting primarily as boundary conditions. The obtrusiveness of observational research is discussed, together with the possibility of generalising observations, particularly in the case of simulations. Finally, it is argued that usage centred research in a design context thrives on a qualitative approach on the basis of small sampling, the strengths and weaknesses of which are discussed.