chapter  14
12 Pages

Cultural Ergonomics Issues in Consumer Product Design

Human diversity has always existed, but it is only in recent decades that consumer diversity has experienced signi™cant increases. By de™nition, consumers purchase or barter goods and services (APA 2007), so the actual consumer population increases as developing nations and sub-groups within nations acquire af’uence and education, and trade facilitators, such as the Internet, gain prominence. Globalization has a very long history, dating back thousands of years with trade in spices, gold, food, livestock, and other commodities between tribes and nations. However, the most signi™cant and traceable expansion of globalization occurred in the 1960s (Scholte 2000). Similarly, the growing heterogeneity of residents of different nations has presented new challenges to companies. Knowing this, any prudent manufacturer would realize that product safety, usability, sales, and brand loyalty have taken on several complex layers that can hinder product diffusion if left unattended or facilitate product diffusion if integrated with product design models.