Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5339-5346
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
The work presents a methodology called Se.De.Tool (Sensorial Design tool) that is focused on the improvement of sensorial interaction aspects in the design process.
Se.De.Tool is a flexible methodology appliable in product and in interior design also like an evaluation tool. It makes it possible to include a lot of sensorial requirements like visual, hearing, tactile, taste and smell stimuli into the design process. For the designers it is very important to have a method to organize those requirements and to change these input in useful data for the project.
Ergonomics methodologies involve a lot of tools and techinques that give outputs for the design process but they usually measure ‘user data’ regarding physical aspects. Se.De.Tool integrates these methodologies to support the design process with “sensorial” parameters.The methodology is founded on a research work that it focused on “user needs”, in particular the goal to extend the research towards multi sensorial dimensions. Actually when people perceive objects in real-life situations, they use all their senses to obtain information about objects. Thus to design an usable and emotional product or environment, we have to compare functional and sensorial parameters. The ergonomics approach is also oriented to contexts and products designed for people living in health care facilities or having some disabilities or functional/cognitive limitations. Consequently the approach adopted for the development of the research is Design for All.

The method
Starting from a sensorial systems analysis it was possible to identify five common characteristics of the visual, hearing, tactile and smell stimuli. For each of these it was possible to identify the properties that influence products’ usability.The tool is appliable to evaluate sensorial quality between user and product because it contanis several methodologies aimed at measuring a lot of users data, from subjective to objective data.The study provides to the designers a very rich source of knowledge about people strategies of sensorial impact of design choices.

Problematic area
In particulary the research involves knowledgement about compatibility in perceptual aspects and subjective components into sensorial interaction process. These aspects are developed in relation to design and evaluation process.The ‘product usability’ (ISO 9241-11) concept already developed the aspects of ‘satisfaction’ during the use of an environment, service or product. Now the dimension of ‘pleasure of use’ is strongly studied in international researches.The interaction between people and objects have different dimensions to be analysed and to define principal requirements of an usable product.The methodology and standardization are some devices to define a product usability in terms of physical, psicological and sensorial/perceptual user needs. The question is: the usability is a requirement that doesn’t always reach users satisfaction because people ask much more from products. Often the sensorial and communicative aspects are very important to define the quality of interaction. The research focus is to exceed functional aspects of interaction to sensorial interpretations and use. The Se.De.Tool helps understanding how ergonomics is considered in design process and which tools can be considered to analyse the complexity of multidimensional aspects of interaction for example in health care contexts.