What makes you tick - an investigation of the pleasure needs of different population segments

The RealPeople project at Loughborough University is an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded research programme. The main aim of the project was to address the growing need for resources/tools that support designers in understanding the emotional needs of different population demographics. The designer needs for a resource/ tool of this nature were identified through a series of interviews with practising designers; the main findings were that designers are aware of the necessity to satisfy the emotional needs of the user, but there has to be a compromise with other factors e.g. production costs. They tend to rely upon ‘quick and dirty’ research methods, with few aware of techniques and data that relate specifically to user pleasure. Additionally, they expressed great interest in a ‘pleasure resource’ that would give them access to information about specific market groups’ emotional needs. Several of them suggested a greater focus on user ‘lifestyle’ information to promote empathy with users. The information collected resulted in the development of an interactive database that allows designers to browse intimate subjective data about specific individuals, their lifestyles and the products that they love and statistically analysed data concerning general population trends. This allows them to gain a better understanding of the emotional and aspirational needs of different market groups, giving them a greater sense of empathy with consumers for whom they are designing. The resource has received very positive reviews from the practising designers that have evaluated its content and interaction style.