An engineering approach to mapping meanings in products and services

DS 87-3 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 3: Product, Services and Systems Design, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Waltersdorfer, Gregor; Gericke, Kilian; Desmet, Pieter; Blessing, Lucienne
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg; 2: Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; 3: Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore
Section: Product, Services and Systems Design
Page(s): 331-340
ISBN: 978-1-904670-91-9
ISSN: 2220-4342


The aim of this paper is to explore how meanings in products and services can be captured, deconstructed, and finally structured, in order to facilitate the deliberate and intentional creation and conveyance of meanings to users and non-users. These analytical steps for mapping meanings are investigated in an empirical study using a qualitative approach and theoretically grounded in Peirce's triadic model of signs. This new methodology in design research seems promising to obtain a new perspective on meaning in products and services. Through the course of the empirical study, we developed a research method, which is also a design method, called MeaningMap, for organising and structuring meanings. A first exploratory evaluation of the method with students showed its comprehensibility and applicability for analysing and structuring meanings within a limited amount of time. We envision that the MeaningMap as a method for design as communication can support designers during task clarification in analysing the voice of customer, defining user group, specifying the intended meanings, and deriving requirements to the communicative potential of products and services.

Keywords: Design methods, Product-Service Systems (PSS), User centred design, Meaning, Semiotics


Please sign in to your account

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties. Privacy Policy.