HUANG Hua, DENG Yimin. Characteristics of Implicit Customer Needs in Product Design and Methods for Their Identification[J]. International Journal of Plant Engineering and Management, 2022, 27(4): 193-213

Characteristics of Implicit Customer Needs in Product Design and Methods for Their Identification
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering&Mechanics, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China
The identification of customer needs is one of the important first-step works for product design. Contrary to explicit ones, the implicit customer needs are less obvious, thus relying on the designers to discover. Up till now, there still lacks a rational or systematic method on the identification of implicit customer needs. Designers have to rely on their own intuition and personal experience to do the work, hindering the product design and development further on. Therefore, it is necessary to study the implicit customer needs and their identification methods. To this end, this paper first studies the characteristics of implicit needs, and clarifies the relationship between implicit needs and explicit needs. Based on this, the concept of customer needs life cycle is put forward. After that, two methods for the identification of implicit needs are proposed, including an active approach and a passive approach. For the active approach, it is suggested to exploit the functional characteristics of the product and the products in the same series or categories, for which a direct acquisition method and an evaluation data mining method are proposed, and a treadmill design case is studied. For the passive approach, it is suggested to exploit the scenario elements of product usage, for which a scenario elements questionnaire method and a scenario adaptation problem method are proposed, and a spinning bike design case is studied. The two design cases have demonstrated the process of customer needs identification and also verified the applicability of the proposed methods.
Key words:    implicit customer needs    needs identification    functional characteristics    scenario elements   
Received: 2022-05-25     Revised:
DOI: 10.13434/j.cnki.1007-4546.2022.0401
Corresponding author:     Email:
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DENG Yimin

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