Evaluation of Construct Elicitation as a Research Method to Obtain Design-Relevant Data from Children

Süner, Sedef
Erbuğ, Çiğdem
Understanding user requirements and how users give meaning to their own experiences related to products is a significant input in the design of products that are acceptable to the target users. This issue becomes more important when designing for children due to our adult preconceptions about what they can and cannot do, and what they like or do not like. Although incorporating children's input into design process has been well-acknowledged in research practices, the dominant tendency is to involve children as testers of the designed solutions in later phases of the process. However, exploration of the aspects of user experience in earlier phases of design is crucial, allowing users to provide input into major design directions rather than merely into usability improvement. Another concern in user research is that designers may not always have the opportunity to come into contact with real users under the current market conditions, and in such cases, communicating a holistic understanding of the user space to designers can contribute significantly to the promotion of empathy with the end-users. Accordingly, there is a need to develop a research methodology by which design-relevant data can be garnered from children, permitting the drawing of a holistic picture of their product experiences while informing designers about user perspectives. This study makes two contributions to the existing body of work: (1) a systematic literature survey focused on current research trends regarding the level and impact of the input of children into design, discussing the significance of the early inclusion of end-users; and (2) an explorative study examining the potential of a construct elicitation method based on Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) with laddering procedure in eliciting design-relevant information from children. We conducted a study of the perceived qualities of mobile phones with 44 children utilizing a revised version of RGT as a tool to reveal subjective constructs of children to inform design process. The results show that RGT is a promising tool for the gathering of information from children, demonstrating the relationship between product attributes and attached meanings and modeling user-product interaction in a multidimensional and multi-layered manner.


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Citation Formats
S. Süner and Ç. Erbuğ, “Evaluation of Construct Elicitation as a Research Method to Obtain Design-Relevant Data from Children,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 19–43, 2016, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: http://jfa.arch.metu.edu.tr/archive/0258-5316/articles/metujfa2016202.pdf.