11 August 2007

What does “user value” mean?

Be the first to share

International Journal of Design
The August issue of the International Journal of Design has just been published.

It is the second issue of this peer-reviewed journal issued by the Taiwan-based Chinese Institute of Design (read more here).

Suzan Boztepe of the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, has contributed an article on the theoretical meaning of user value.

In design research, the issues of what exactly constitutes user value and how design can contribute to its creation are not commonly discussed.

This paper provides a critical overview of the theories of value used in anthropology, sociology, philosophy, business, and economics. In doing so, it reviews a range of theoretical and empirical studies, with particular emphasis on their position on product, user, and designer in the process of value creation.

The paper first looks at the similarities and differences among definitions of value as exchange, sign, and experience.

It then reviews types and properties of user value such as its multidimensionality, its contextuality, its interactivity, and the stages of user experience dependency identified by empirical studies. Methodological approaches to user value research and their possible applications in design are also discussed.

Finally, directions for future research on user value are discussed giving particular emphasis to the need of tools and methods to support design practice.

Suzan Boztepe earned her Ph.D. in Design from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2004, and has since served as an Assistant Professor of Design at Middle East Technical University. She has taught design innovation and human-centered design research methods at Pratt Institute and Carleton University’s School of Industrial Design. Her research interests include strategic applications of design, social and cultural human factors, and product localization issues. She also works as an innovation consultant to international companies in emerging markets.

I found a few more interesting papers by Suzane available for download:

  • User-value-based product adaptation (pdf, 200 kb, 14 pages), 2005
    This paper reports an ethnographic study on the use of kitchen appliances illustrating how various factors of physical and socio-cultural context influence users’ interaction with product and its value. Based on the relationship between these cultural influences and the value users derive from products, the paper proposes a user-centered framework for product adaptation. The primary drives for product adaptation decisions in the proposed framework include the consideration of convenience, compatibility, accessibility, social significance, and pleasure in user-product interaction.
  • The notion of value and design (pdf, 220 kb, 10 pages), 2003
    Globalization of businesses brings opportunities as well as failure. In today’s volatile economy, creating superior value for users is shown as a way of achieving competitive advantage. However, there is a little agreement of what exactly constitutes user value and how design can contribute to its creation. This paper examines the notion of value from sociological, anthropological, and business perspectives, reflecting on what each has to offer to design. A conception of value as a practical or symbolic benefit of a product which arises from the interaction with user and facilitates superior user experience is advocated. Finally, the role of design in creation of value is questioned and a framework for research into value is suggested.

    Be the first to share
    22 October 2016
    [Book] Org Design for Design Orgs
    Org Design for Design Orgs: Building and Managing In-House Design Teams By Peter Merholz and Kristin Skinner Publisher: O'Reilly Media August 2016, 198 pages Design has become the key link between users and today’s complex and rapidly evolving digital …
    18 October 2016
    Behavioral economics, UX design and insurance
    The key to unlocking the insurance industry, writes Richie Hecker in TechCrunch, is understanding behavioral economics. The most successful players in insurance tech, he says, will win by rounding the edges on existing products. "Don’t …
    16 October 2016
    Study says aggressive drivers see autonomous cars as easy prey
    Aggressive drivers are looking forward to sharing the road with autonomous cars as they believe they can cut in front of them easily. This is how Peter Campbell summarised in the Financial Times one of …
    25 September 2016
    Three new reports on behavioural science applied to policy making
    European Commission There is growing recognition that behavioural insights (BIs) – by shedding light on how people actually make choices – help deliver more effective policies and complement traditional forms of intervention. The Behavioural Insights Applied …
    18 September 2016
    Better decisions by design: applied behavioral science
    Can we design a decision aid that gives us health information we need and counters our biases so that we end up more knowledgeable and confident in our preference? This is the challenge that …
    18 September 2016
    Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic on the home of the future
    Jasmina Tesanovic (previously) and Bruce Sterling did a residency at The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD (San Diego, USA), working with the students on design fiction and futurism. The residency …
    5 September 2016
    Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing
    The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to "transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and …
    4 September 2016
    Cognitive bias cheat sheet
    Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from a standard of rationality or good judgment. Buster Benson has tried to arrange the rather exhaustive lists of cognitive …

    We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

    5 September 2016
    Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

    The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

    29 August 2016
    Experientia discussing ethnography and patient-centricity at EPIC 2016

    This week Experientia joins our colleagues and peers in Minneapolis at EPIC 2016, the premier international gathering on ethnography and design in industry. The theme for the conference this year is Pathmaking, emphasizing the power of ethnography to create transformative innovation, growth and strategic success for companies, industries and communities. On the second day of […]

    22 June 2016
    A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project

    Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions that it can. It also suggests that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for […]

    23 May 2016
    Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”

    Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity – but they have also illustrated that not everyone is clear on just what patient-centricity is, or how to achieve it. After using UX […]

    12 April 2016
    The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

    Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

    8 March 2016
    Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

    One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

    See all articles