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Cooking product interface related to aging population
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This Masters Thesis has been performed at Electrolux Cookers Plant in Adelaide and Electrolux Industrial Design Centre in Sydney, Australia. The Electrolux plant in Dudley Park, Adelaide, houses the Research & Development team and manufactures built-in and freestanding cooktops and ovens. The Electrolux Industrial Design Centre in Sydney are responsible for the design of all Electrolux products on the Australian and parts of the Asian market. Due to improved medical care and increased standards of living the world’s populations is getting older and older. Since many elderly have impaired memory, vision, hearing or mobility, the demands on products for these consumers increase. Today there are a lack of products on the market suited for the demands of elderly, and Electrolux see a big potential in this group of buyers. We were asked by the R&D department at Electrolux to develop recommendations for the design of cooking product interfaces related to an aging population, and investigate how segmentation will affect buying decisions within this group. A case study was to be made where our findings would be used to design a new cooktop and rangehoodcombination. Using a systematic development work to ensure a structured process, resarch was made through benchmarking, the catalogue method, a survey and a focus group meeting. Among other things, the conclusions were that touch controls are not recommended, nor multifunctional controls. When controlling a cooktop, as many senses as possible should be involved to ensure that proper feedback is given. Induction is the safest technology but elderly may have acceptance problems with “new” technology, therefore new cooktops should be designed to resemble old ones. Also, cleaning aspects proved to be a very important issue. Another thing to consider is that colors can mean different things in differentcultures, and reading directions in different languages can affect the understanding of controls and interfaces. It was furthermore found that ”Elderly” is not a segmentation group of its own. People that have a certain personalitywill still be the same person when he or she is getting older. Electrolux are using four segmentation groups when developing new products, and our findings are that the same groups can be used even for older people. Products should therefore not be aimed especially to elderly but instead be user friendly enough for elderly. From our findings and recommendations an interface was developed where the rangehood is controlled from the cooktop via radiolink. Using hand sketches, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator different designs were tried anda final concept was chosen. The resulting controls consists of buttons that give tactile feedback when they are pressed, and the indicators for heat resemble traditional twist controls. All graphics are backlit to increase readability, and graphics on the buttons are embossed to give tactile redundance. To avoid cultural problems all controls have been designedusing globally known concepts such as “up”, “down” and the movement of the clock. Since the developed interface was liked by Electrolux we were asked to show how the same interface could be used to control all types of cooktops including gas, electric and induction. We were also asked to look at how product segmentation could be made by adding or removing features or making small design changes. This resulted in a whole product range with 19 different cooktops and rangehoods where heating technology, small color changes and feature changes are used for segmentation. We were invited to Electrolux Industrial Design Centre in Sydney to build a mock up on one of the models in their workshop and to present the project for Mr. Lars Erikson, the design director for Asia and Australia. The project has been on a conceptual level and the resulting products are not being produced. However, the feedback from Electrolux has been very positive, and they plan to review our work in detail when they start their next design project on cooktops.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Technology, Electrolux, cooktops, rangehoods, aging population, industrial design, design, touch controls, twist controls, Australia
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-54836ISRN: LTU-EX--08/086--SELocal ID: bc49f40d-b615-41ab-99be-3a9cf5d772a9OAI: diva2:1028218
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Ergonomic Design & Production Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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