Experiences of a User-Centred Research Approach involving Old People in Early Phases of Design; Reflections from Furniture Manufacturers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


The paper concerns the furniture industry’s increased interest in opportunities and challenges to
respond to demographic shifts and to meet future senior markets. A central issue discussed is
how a user-centred approach in a collaborative design research project benefited the industrial
partners. The paper focuses on the perspectives of the participating furniture manufacturers. The
most involved representatives from each of the seven participating companies in the project were
recruited as respondents. Semi-structured interviews were carried out. The results indicate that a
user-centred design research approach with an early focus on old people contributed with
knowledge on a general level that benefited the industrial partners. All respondents stated that
they were strengthened in their presumptions about old people as furniture users and consumers. The majority stated that their understanding of end users improved. Based on lessons learnt three
recommendations for future work in co-operative design research projects are: (1) to establish a
mutual understanding of the different roles and perspectives of the design researchers and the
industrial partners, (2) involve as many stakeholders as possible and (3) use prototypes and
iterative design processes.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • early phases of design processes, user-centred design, furniture, old people, demographic shifts
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication[Host publication title missing]
EditorsFatima Pombo
PublisherProceedings of the 10th European academy of design conference - crafting the future, Gothenburg, April 17-19, 2013
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
EventThe 10th European academy of design conference - crafting the future - Gothenburg
Duration: 2013 Apr 17 → …


ConferenceThe 10th European academy of design conference - crafting the future
Period2013/04/17 → …

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