Emotional principles for a holistic approach to Universal Design

University dissertation from Media-Tryck, Lund University

Abstract: Exploring emotional relationships between user and product is an important issue to adress in the design of t non-discriminating everyday products. Universal design is one approach among several, which the industrial designer can use when designing on the basis of on a non-discriminating philosophy. One way to achieve an integration of the user product relationship into the concept of universal design is to see the existing universal design principles in a new light by using a grounded theory approach when analysing empirical data. Seven young users with various impairments were interviewed about product experiences in daily life, resulting in user stories. Data collection and analysis were woven together in a parallel process according to grounded theory. Analysing the user stories in relation to the established seven principles of universal design and the concept of four pleasures, resulted in the proposal of four emotional universal design (EUD) principles to be verified in future design cases. Parallel with the interview study, several related studies were carried out, which in different ways contributed to the thesis. The connections between the related studies focus on meaningful products. ‘Meaningful’ stands for the user’s motivation to connect or integrate with an object – that the object has an emotional significance for the user. For the industrial designer, the EUD principles make it possible to get closer to the general concept of universal design, since they concentrate on those aspects in the design process that are characteristic of industrial design. The four EUD principles also contribute to promoting product values that are appreciated by consumers, and that contribute to facilitating the implementation of a non-discriminating approach on the consumer market.

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