Modelling of memories through design


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The Design Society

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This article explores how to design for product longevity. The design approach Contexts of Experience (COE) makes the basis for this interdisciplinary study which combines research on consumer-product attachment (CPA) and related psychological mechanisms, design and design practice. The conceptual design approach COE was explored through a case study with student projects on master's level in product design and interviews. One specific project namely the “Spa radiator” that to a great extent infused various experiences as part of the product made the main subject for this study. Through the case analysis done by concept mapping, five different Levels of Activation (LoA) were disclosed: cognitive, motional, relational, perceptive and imaginative. The activation dimension identified is argued to have emerged primarily through the process of making experiences for different contexts of use and the awareness of psychological mechanisms, facilitated by the COE approach. The COE approach seems therefore to contribute to the making of products that facilitate the modeling of memories and associations through user activation. As these emotions and thoughts are potentially tied up to the product it seems essential to create functions that elicit different levels of activation in order to design for product longevity and hence the environment. Memories can furthermore contribute to the commercial value of products since the experiences they elicit are closely tied to brand value. The LoA is therefore suggested as an analytical and creative tool in order to evaluate the ability of a design concept to stimulate CPA, in addition to the COE approach



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