2010-12-09, Disputation: Viktor Hiort af Ornäs

Disputationer och lic-seminarier inom Ergonomi och Human Factors

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2010-12-09, Disputation: Viktor Hiort af Ornäs

Post by Lars-Ola » 2010-Nov-25 21:09

The Significance of Things
Affective User-Artefact relations

Thesis to be defended in public at 13.15 Thursday the 9t h December 2010
in lecture hall VA, Sven Hultins gata 6, Göteborg
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The thesis will be defended in English.

Faculty opponent:
Dr. Anna Valtonen, Rector of Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University.

Design and Human factors
Institutionen för Produkt och Produktionsutveckling
412 96 Göteborg
Telefon 031-772 10 00

Products help people act, but also thrill, excite, and elicit fear, joy and anger. Artefacts
are a natural part of people’s everyday lives, sometimes associated with values, dreams
and aspirations. While traditional user-centred approaches have focused on efficiency
and effectiveness of use, injury prevention etc. new approaches focusing on product
experience have emerged. However, while increased attention is being paid to the
experiential side of goods and services there remains a need for knowledge and
methodology with which to address experiences with things, especially with regard to
elicitation, specification and evaluation of requirements. This project has therefore taken
an exploratory qualitative approach, aiming to elucidate what it is that people
find significant in experiences with products.
159 participants in six different studies have shared descriptions of experiences with
things. The studies have come from different perspectives, triangulating data collected in
individual and group interviews with self-reports. The analysis indicates that things
often matter not in terms of their mere presence or physical properties, but by standing
out from expectations, requiring attention or referring to some idea. Often the
significance of products lay in the role(s) they play in events, and the perceived impact
the thing has on the person’s ability to realise motives.
While only a fraction of all experiences with things could be prescribed in product
development it is possible to scaffold conditions that increase or decrease their
likelihood. Three perspectives that could potentially be addressable in development
work are: significant things and associated meanings, significance in use and
significance of consequences beyond use. These imply somewhat different objectives for
design and different needs for knowledge. User experience is not a property or quality of
an artefact, but a perspective that can to some extent be addressed by enabling
developers to identify requirements and align their understanding with what users find

Keywords: User-centred design, User experience, Significant things, Significant use,
Significant consequences

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