Exploration of the ways of empowering people in the design process through product personalization for prolonged product lifetimes


2nd Conference on Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE), Delft, Netherlands, 8 - 10 November 2017, pp.334-339 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Doi Number: 10.3233/978-1-61499-820-4-334
  • City: Delft
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Page Numbers: pp.334-339
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Product personalization has many potentials in extending product lifetimes and sustainable consumption, through strengthening the emotional bond between people and their products. In addition, production and post-use of products need to be considered in the design process to develop design solutions in line with sustainability principles. Product personalization is defined in the study as, a process during which a product's aesthetic and functional attributes are defined, adapted or modified by the user during design, use and post-use stages of the product lifespan. To increase a product's personal relevance to its user, during the process of personalization, user is involved as co-designer and co-maker of the product. In this study, product personalization is discussed within the local context via empowering local skills and knowledge and enabling the use of local materials and production techniques. The ways of enabling people in the design process through product personalization are explored via research through design approach. Firstly, a lighting design exploration is developed based on the design considerations emerge from the personalization and sustainability literature, and an online survey exploring people's reasons and methods of personalization. This design exploration is further developed through three generative sessions during which the participants personalize the design exploration, record and share their experiences in the personalization process, and thus theoretical ideas are refined. The results of the study reveal that, people's needs for personalization, their skills and motivation levels and ease of re-personalization during use phase need to be considered during design process, and these design considerations are interrelated.