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Adaptive Products: Designing for Evolution rough Use - page 4 / 31

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act as an information resource for all moped riders. What began locally expanded over time and now includes hundreds of people in of icial branches and thousands of regular website visitors. As the organization evolved it continually outgrew the website necessitating four complete redesigns from scratch. Each time, a new design process was initiated; a reframing of the problem based on new needs, a changed situation, and expanded goals.

Today, the website is once again outdated and causing unexpected problems for the growth and health of the organization. Local branches are feeling constrained by outdated structures, members are unable to communicate in ways they desire, and visitors lack a way to accurately express their identity and role in the community. A small group of moped riders have completely abandoned the site, creating their own because it could not flexibly accommodate what they desired. The idea of starting the design process again is disheartening, because the organization is growing and changing faster than ever a redesign like the others would just be playing catch up.

The Need for Product Evolution

I am interested in how products can evolve as people use them. To investigate this idea I will explore three concepts: product, to understand what is changing, adaptation to learn how evolution happens, and autonomy to appreciate people’s individual and collective involvement in this process. I plan to look at what types of products are being designed today, why people need the freedom to modify them, and how they can change over time. Throughout, I will be examining the changing role of the designer and how product evolution alters the relationship between designers and users.

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