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The contribution of user-centered design to consumer packages

Kesercioğlu, Burçin
End-users often complain about usability and safety problems in consumer packages. This study shows that these issues are an obstacle to the achievement of user satisfaction and to gain a competitive advantage in the market. To this end, a case study on food and beverage packages was done in order to identify and analyze these usability and safety problems based on the lifetime phases of packages in which end-users are involved. The study revealed that safety, clarity, legibility, visibility, storability, openability, re-closability, usefulness, and pleasantness are key areas where problems are widespread and should be considered by package developers and designers. The study also indicated that the problems occurred during use result from insufficiencies in current package design processes. These insufficiencies occur basically in the specification of the context of package use, identification of usability requirements, and the active involvement of the actual users in the package design processes. This study also highlights the need for a user-centered approach to package design in order to overcome the insufficiencies in current package design processes in a structured way and thus to achieve usable and safe packages. In addition, based on the literature and case study findings, checklists for user-centered package design process activities and for the design and evaluation of the packages are included. Moreover, a set of methods to be used during user-centered package design process is recommended.