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User Centred Research

"Designers often make incorrect or ill-informed assumptions about how customers use products and users often exhibit unexpected behaviour. Consequently there is a danger that designers may pre-empt some behaviours and fail to anticipate others" (Lilley et al, 2005)

Prior to the design stage take the time to understand the users behaviour, desires and needs. By observing the way that people actually use the products you design, and designing with this in mind, it is possible to:

  • reduce the environmental impact of the product during use by:
    • increasing the energy efficiency
    • reducing the waste resulting from use
    • reducing product emissions
    • reducing excessive/ wasteful use of products
  • meet the users current needs and anticipate new ones
  • avoid unanticipated user behaviour or misuse of products
  • increase user satisfaction

There are numerous techniques which designers can use to uncover user behaviour. It is not possible to provide in-depth information on all these techniques.

For more information download the document below which provides a brief description of each method and references for more detailed information.


Lilley. D, Lofthouse. V A, and Bhamra. T (2005) 'Investigating Product Driven Sustainable Use', in: Sustainable Innovation 05, Global 'state of the art' in sustainable product/service development and design, 10th International Conference, 24th 25th October 2005. Farnham Castle International Briefing and Conference Centre, UK

user centred research methods