Integrating Different User Involvement Methods in Design Curriculum
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Martina Maria Keitsch
Institution: Department of Product Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
User involvement is increasingly gaining recognition and the number of user-researchers in the international design community is growing. However, the question: “Designing with users, how?” implies great challenges for scholars and educators, such as if user involvement necessarily results in user empowerment or just complies with an ideology of involvement, and if it leads to better products and services. The author discusses different concepts of user involvement and presents an education effort to teach user involvement methods in a Master Course in Sustainable Product Design. The methods are located within three domains - an abstract, a fictional and an in-situ user involvement concept. They have to be applied in the course during the last two years. The impact of the different methods on the students is discussed by analyzing some of their group works in the course. In summary, it seems that sustainable product and -service design curricula may advance by adopting a thorough user perspective. Generating knowledge on the benefits and pitfalls of the different concepts, and on how these influence methods and design practice is however crucial to integrate user involvement successfully in sustainable design curricula.