Sunday, 6 September 2009

Products, systems and services

The life cycle perspective of systems engineering has long considered the relation between system products and services. An example given by Stuart Arnold is of a bridge; it changes from being a civil enginering project to being a traffic engineering service.

Ergonomics has considered features beyond the central 'product' for a long time. John Hughes at IBM looked at the experience of receiving a Selectric typewriter, from how to design the box to be picked up safely, and unpacking the typewriter etc. (written up in Design Studies, but not showing up in the Scirus search - so much for peer-reviewed credibility).

Don Norman has written a nice piece on these lines called Systems Thinking: A Product Is More Than the Product. It covers packaging and support; very different in the eyes of the vendor organisation, but both part of the experience so far as the user is concerned.

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