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User-centered New Product Development Method:Research and Application

Author: ZhouJiangMing
Tutor: TuNan; QiXin
School: Tsinghua University
Course: Logistics Engineering
Keywords: User-centered product design Persona creation Analytic hierarchyprocess Quality function deployment Usability testing
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 44
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Coupled with rapid advances in economics and technology, product homogeneityhas become one of the challenges that both consumers and companies inevitably face.Global competition has intensified and companies are increasingly focusing onimproving new product development (NPD) process to sustainably increase marketshare and profitability. However, there exist difficulties in accommodating the valueelements throughout the NPD process, which may lead to substantial failure rates andhigh risks.User-centered product design aims to design products that better meet thecustomer requirements (CRs) to secure the competitive advantages and success of aNPD. The designer needs to define the CRs clearly and produce an appropriate designsolution with a crucial connection between CRs and products.In traditional NPD, quality function deployment (QFD) is commonly used totranslate CRs into design requirements (DRs) using a matrix called house of quality(HOQ). The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) may be employed to determine therelative importance weights of CRs for precision improvements. However, weaknessesstill exist in previous study.First, primal data for QFD is usually collected from interviews, claimsinformation and even experiences of the product design team. These qualitativemethods have met some criticisms as being human subjective and imprecise. Userdemands remains general and vague to the designers. Second, the degree of uncertaintyis usually ill-considered when applying the AHP, or the pairwise comparison matrix isnot guaranteed as reciprocal when using fuzzy numbers to quantify the degree ofuncertainty. Third, most researches on NPD are limited to product prototyping, whileproduct design is an iteration process and feedbacks are essential to diagnose andimprove existing products.In this article, a user-centered design method is proposed. This method comprisesof persona creation, AHP, QFD and scenario-based usability engineering. Personacreation based on fuzzy cluster analysis is first employed to identify the typicalbehaviors and motivations of a broader range of customers. The user demands are to be described clearly in the persona profiles. The CRs are extracted from the personaprofiles and then prioritized with a semi-fuzzy AHP approach. Using the QFD method,the prioritized CRs are translated into measurable DRs to set the design targets. Afterproduct prototyping, scenario-based usability testing techniques are employed toaccess and make recommendations to improve usability in product redesign. The aboveprocess may be repeated with several iterations until a product that more closelymatches the customer needs with high usability can be designed.A new sports earphones design project at Shenzhen is given as a case study toillustrate the implementation of this method.

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