Structuring user-centred product development processes

Frederik Willem Bertrandus Hoolhorst

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Within the last decades, product development industry has found itself facing a general increase in product use problems. These problems originate from a mismatch between the actual functionality that the product provides and the afforded product-user interaction versus the user’s expectations regarding both aspects. A lot of these problems find their origin in an ineffective and inefficient organisation of the product development process. An effective and efficient organisation of such a process usually starts with the specification of a detailed plan of approach. Unfortunately there are no tools to support product development teams in specifying a univocal, effective and user-centred Plan of approach. This research therefore focused the development of a method that supports product development teams in specifying a univocal and detailed user-centred plan of approach for a specific product development project. The research resulted in the UCD Kick-off method. Input for this method is a design brief. Output of the method is a detailed user-centred plan of approach describing project stakeholders, product’s intended use characteristics, intermediate results, selected development methods, development activities, required input and allocation of resources. The method is characterised by the following four iterative steps in order to specify these aspects. 1. Stakeholder mapping: Making a complete prioritised overview and specification of project stakeholders (including the product’s users). 2. Product characteristics and intermediate results: Making a overview of product characteristics, scheduled intermediate development results and contextual conditions. 3. Development method selection: Explicitly exploring and selecting feasible development methods which lead to the desired development results. 4. Development method specification: Describing required development activities, required input, development techniques and allocation of resources. The UCD Kick-off method has been validated and evaluated in cooperation with industrial partners. These validation and evaluation resulted in a workshop manual, the UCD Kick-off tool, which supports in executing a series of workshops in which product development teams to jointly apply the UCD Kick-off method. The evaluation furthermore revealed that the UCD Kick-off method and accompanying UCD Kick-off tool are assessed to be applicable in and of added value to product development practice.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • van Houten, F.J.A.M., Supervisor
  • van der Voort, Mascha C., Supervisor
Award date14 Sept 2012
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3401-7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2012

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