Andreas Benker

Aalto University

Twitter: @A_Tweeto

Managing the change from a tech‐driven product development process towards a user‐centered approach

My research evolves from a practical research setting since I have an industrial partner with whom I define the focus of my research. This company is a medical device manufacturer and I have access to and work with the research and development department. The topics of interest in this setting are about managing product development processes and user involvement methods. From a practical perspective, the objective of my studies is to enhance the medical devices’ usability by shifting the focus from a technology‐driven development process towards a more user‐centered approach. The purpose of my studies is to investigate these ongoing processes and activities in order to better understand how to manage the involvement of user perspectives in an otherwise technology‐driven product development process.

Usability is becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry since it is demanded by international standards and potentially serves as a differentiating factor for medical device manufacturers in an otherwise technology‐driven market competition. My study aims at better understanding how to design for usability and market products that are perceived as superior compared to the competitors regarding their usability in practice. Interfaces of the medical devices as well as the handling of such are crucial to their performance with regards to usability. Since the user friendliness and ease of use of a medical device are only a part of the overall experience of an operator of the device under development it becomes necessary to consider the workflows and attitudes of future users in the development process in order to design for their needs and to enhance their everyday working experience.

This research attempts to (1) better understand the ongoing development processes of a medical device manufacturer in order to (2) propose novel ways of how to include users’ needs in the development efforts in order to market products that users experience supportive to their work as opposed to hindering their workflows.