An engineering approach to mapping meanings in products and services
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
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
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.