PRODUCT DEVELOPERS' RELATIONS TO THEIR USERS - AN INTERVIEW STUDY
The purpose of this interview study is to investigate how people involved in product development communicate and work with the users. Four companies from two different branches have been investigated. in order to investigate differences. Two of the companies develop hand tools for professional use and the other two develop durable consumer products. Three people from each company have been interviewed: a design engineer, a market representative or a market manager and a product development manager. The result shows that none of the investigated companies have a defined and documented procedure for describing their intended end users. The two companies that develop consumer products have descriptions of their market segment. The companies that develop hand lools for professional use are more directed to the end user than for example the sales companies and its product developers have a closer direct contact with the users than the developers of consumer products. For the developers of the consumer products it is instead more vital that they also consider the distributors and sellers. The knowledge and use of product development methods for consideration of user aspects, is rather low. None of the companies use formal methods to analyse and generate new ideas about the user or the use situation.