Mid Sweden University is currently developing a research lab for industrial design where research on how products are perceived will be carried out. Research on perception will be carried out by, for example, measuring stress, brain waves, ECG and eye tracking. In this way, we obtain more knowledge of how we perceive and are affected by products and services, which can be used for new design. At Mid Sweden University there are several collaborations and projects connected to businesses involved
The Department of Industrial Design develop and assess different methods to make the designers able to understand in what ways the design of products, services and environments affect the people using them. At the department, there is a research lab, where different aspects of interaction can be observed. In the research lab, we are able to create environments by projecting images or movies on three walls in a cube-shaped room. By also stimulating other senses, such as hearing and smell, the experience of actually being in a certain environment can be intensified. The studio can be used both to understand the design of a product in a context and to evaluate the design of an environment before it is built. We assess and study different aspects of what happens to people when they are confronted with different design solutions:
Conscious experiences – assessed by means of interviews, demand analyses and similar methods, where the users express their experiences.
Behaviour – research by means of observation studies, where the users are photographed or filmed as they use different design solutions. By also wearing Eye tracking glasses, it is possible to follow exactly what the eyes focus on in each situation. The result is a material where it is possible to go back and analyze details in order to improve design solutions.
Unconscious experiences – also on an unconscious level, our brains react to different experiences. By studying changes in heart rate, brain activity and hand perspiration, we can track the unconscious experiences of different design solutions, like by evaluations prototypes during the design process. This make it possible to avoid solutions that have a stressful or confusing effect on people.
Throughout the design process, different methods can be combined to understand the users experiences to be able to design products, services and environments that are perceived as satisfying and easy to use.