Title: Feature creep and usability in consumer electronic product design

Authors: Tom Page

Addresses: Department of Design and Technology, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK

Abstract: This research considers the existing literature discussing the usability of microelectronic products and reports on the research undertaken by the author in identifying the consumer perception of contemporary and legacy electronic products. The effect of microelectronic advancement on product usability is investigated and analysed in combination with case-based investigation into consumer attitudes towards product purchase and the usability of digital cameras. Research was conducted through a structured questionnaire, focus groups and interviews. The findings suggest that users see benefits in microelectronics, such as useful functionalities and improvements in size, weight and general versatility, but also found the increased complexity and reduced reliability of electronic products as detrimental to usability. Non-electronic products were identified as largely simpler and more intuitive and, therefore, more usable. Ultimately, users demanded high functionality and usability, an amalgamation largely achieved by digital cameras through the use of well-designed and intuitive interfaces and menu systems.

Keywords: electronic product design; e-product design; usability; microelectronics; consumer perception; product usability; product development; digital cameras.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2009.027474

International Journal of Product Development, 2009 Vol.9 No.4, pp.406 - 428

Published online: 26 Jul 2009 *

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