Designing Loved Product Experiences: How we connect with our significant objects, and how we design these connections.
Pawson, Alexander Ian
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We all own objects we love, objects we connect to and find value in over and above the simple reality of the object in front of us. A favourite kitchen knife, a child's artwork, a designer pair of sunglasses: all of these are loved objects, but for different reasons. These beloved objects, and our interactions with them, form a valuable part of our lives. It is these objects we bond with and value over others. This research builds on established work--notably the work of Don Norman, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, and Klaus Krippendorff--using a small study of semi-structured interviews to identify emergent themes in our contemporary relationships with loved objects. The interviews build on ideas drawn from the established research to explore and corroborate our relationship with these objects in a contemporary western context. Through analysis of these interviews themes in our relationship with loved objects emerged, and were synthesised to create a picture of the ways these connections form. In order to contextualise these theories, a design project was undertaken with the intention of explicitly targeting these possible connections as a means to create a `lovable' product. The project--the design of a domestic digital music player--began with responses to three separate themes identified in the research. The process produced three distinct design concepts corresponding to the themes. These concepts were discussed and evaluated before a single concept was selected and a high-fidelity prototype produced. This project design process is outlined here, and the resulting design concepts presented and discussed.
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