Exploring and Designing Wireless City Applications by Way of Archetype User Research within a Living Lab

Jo Pierson, An Jacobs, Katrien Dreessen, Lieven De Marez


In the paper we demonstrate the process and the outcome of ‘archetype user research’ for exploring and designing wireless broadband applications in a city environment. This type of research is based on ethnographic research of a number of persons that are each purposefully selected as being an ‘archetype’ user of a number of broadly defined application ideas. The archetypical character here refers to potentially interesting socio-economic background features and city-related practices. This leads to the identification of dimensions that define the practice of a city visit. In the project being discussed in the paper (ROMAS) these qualitative data are integrated with a quantitative scanning of potential application ideas among different stakeholders. In this way two approaches of ICT user research, diffusion and domestication, are combined. The outcome of this bottom-up investigation is then coupled back to the applications ideas, leading to design suggestions based on what potential users say, do and experience in everyday life situations in the city. This fits in the current evolution to increasingly involving the user in service innovation, especially in the ‘fuzzy front end’ of the new product development process.


archetype user research, wireless broadband applications, technology design

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS222008205