The Internet is facilitating new ways of designing, manufacturing and distributing products. This has led to a more democratic, open-design approach and has resulted in users having more involvement in the design process than ever before. In particular, designers are shifting away from designing a finished product, to either designing components, a template or a set of tools which the user interacts with to finalise and/or personalise the product. This way of approaching design is still in its infancy. The authors' have termed this design framework, as it applies within product design, ‘user-completion’.
The authors' propose that the user-completion framework operates at the intersection between mass-customisation and craft. The skills and knowledge sets associated with mass-customisation and craft, presents challenges and opportunities for both the designer and user. The user-completion framework enables users to personalise the end product and therefore requires designers to shift their conceptual approach, by handing-over more design control to the users. It is hoped that by doing so, and by engaging the user in the product's completion, a stronger emotional bond will be generated between the user and the final product. This design process also anticipates an added value and a longer life cycle for the product.
The ‘user-completion’ framework proposed by the authors will be outlined, and supported with the three case study examples of work. Through these case studies the value of users being involved in the design process is explored, as is their engagement with craft and their perceived emotional value of the resulting products.
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