Emotional Durability Design Nine
: Developing a tool for product longevity

  • Merryn Haines-Gadd

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The lifespan of electrical goods has shown to be diminishing over time. Considering that many of these products being replaced or discarded still function or could be repaired, this situation places an unnecessary burden on the environment. Although product lifetimes is a topic being tackled at an academic and policy level, this research is primarily concerned with optimising and extending the technical lifetime of the product. As of yet, there is no comprehensive method to facilitate the integration of the emotional lifetime perspective into consumer electronics. Therefore, to tackle this issue, this thesis presents the process and outcomes of a research collaboration between the University of Brighton and Philips Lighting that investigated – Which principles of Emotionally Durable Design are relevant to the extension of the lifetime of a product and how can these be translated into an effective method for new product developers?

    Adopting a Research through Design approach, a new tool was defined and developed by employing narrative inquiry, workshops and facilitated feedback sessions with participants from Philips Lighting. Entitled the ‘Emotional Durability Design Nine’, the framework facilitates the engagement of emotional longevity concepts by new product developers in order to positively influence the lifetime of the products they develop. It consists of nine themes: Narratives, Relationships, Identity, Imagination, Conversations, Consciousness, Integrity, Materiality and Evolvability and is support by a further 38 strategies.

    The framework was tested in both product design and digital design development scenarios, utilising workshops and design practice. This was to examine the effectiveness of the method, to explore what design outcomes it would yield and how it operates in practice. As a result of this round of testing, new lighting concepts were created and an effective procedure for using the tool uncovered. Consequently, a final toolkit was devised and delivered to Philips Lighting for final feedback and responses. This revealed that, the tool aided new product developers to engage with emotional durability concepts, and additionally that it could be applied beyond the design stage, and utilised at value engineering and marketing stages. By applying the tool at these other phases, a greater number of product developers would be contemplating emotional longevity factors, which could potentially increase the likelihood and opportunity for these concepts to be retained in the final product.
    Date of AwardSept 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorJonathan Chapman (Supervisor), Peter Lloyd (Supervisor) & Tom Ainsworth (Supervisor)

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