Design for DDUS

Why use Design for DDUS?

Design for Dynamic and Diverse Use Situations (DDUS) is a methodology that supports product design teams in sharing and exploring knowledge of varying users, user goals and contexts of use of products, to design products with high levels of usability and user experience.

How was Design for DDUS developed?

Design for Dynamic and Diverse Use Situations (DDUS) was the topic of my PhD thesis, which I completed in 2012. I was interested in how product designers deal with the fact that the products they design will be used by many different people in varying contexts of use, and how that influences the usability of these products. For that purpose I studied three expert design teams who had recently developed a product through a user-centred design process. I found that the members of design teams knew and assumed many things about the future use situations of their product, through either their knowledge of similar previous projects, or by referring to personal experiences of using similar products by themselves, family, or friends. However, I also found that this knowledge was not always shared explicitly within the design team.

How does it work?

Through a series of studies with expert designers and student design teams, I subsequently developed a set of guidelines to support designers in designing for DDUS. As part of the guidelines I developed the Envisioning Use workshop technique together with researchers Stella Boess and Christelle Harkema. The technique brings members of a design team together to share and explore knowledge of use situations. Within the workshop, the design teams created a ‘frame of reference of product use’, which is a digital or analogue representation of the expected use situations and related levels of usability and user experience. This frame of reference could subsequently be used in user evaluations to set test conditions and research questions. I explain the guidelines in more detail in this book chapter (2012) and in this article. The full research project is published in my PhD thesis.

Van der Bijl-Brouwer, Mieke: ‘Guidelines to design for dynamic and diverse use situations; exploring the who, where and why of product use’ in Design for Usability, Methods and Tools: a practitioner’s guide, edited by Jasper van Kuijk, page 98-109, 2012


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