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The relationship between socio economic factors and use context in product usability

Karapars, Zeynep
Developments in the usability discipline have lead to new paths in new product development processes. The methods for development of usable products are abundant and the area is crescent for new research. One of the concerns in usability lies in the question of employment of user centered design in the prevailing product development processes. In this study, it is aimed to be clarified that inquiry into the use context should be an initial step in user centered design. However, use context is one of the less explored areas of usability. Detailed examinations of contextual factors may open paths to new methods of integrating usability into products. This study aims to take a step towards the analysis of the impact of socio economic factors on usability of product. A field study is made in order to acquire a deeper understanding. Samples of two different socio-economic groups are defined from the marketing perspective. Contextual factors are specified on the example of washing machines. Comparison of problems between the users from the two socio economic groups shed light on the relationship between socio economic variables and usability problems.