The Virtual Printshop: A case study on using Virtual Reality in early stages of user-centered product design

Jos Thalen, Mascha van der Voort


In the early stages of a product development process (PDP), VR can facilitate communication between designers and product end-users to improve the quality of feedback that user provide to designers. While various forms of VR can already be found in the PDP, they primarily target designers, rather than designers and end-users. Furthermore, available tools and toolkits do not match the skills and requirements of designers in early stages of the PDP. The current paper presents an approach that first identifies how to effectively support early stage design activities (referred to as the application) and subsequently provides designers with tools to realize this application themselves. The approach is implemented in an industrial case study involving practitioners from a multinational manufacturer of printing solutions for professional markets. The Virtual Printshop resulting from this case study provides an evaluation platform for various types of early stage product evaluations. A concluding generalization of the cases study results shows that the application can be translated to several other design domains. Furthermore, it was found that there are similarities in how these different design domains integrate VR design tools with their existing tool chains.


application; user centered design; methodology; case study

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