A customer’s satisfaction with a product’s attributes depends on the context in which the customer uses the product. Consider a customer’s satisfaction with the brightness of a light source. If a customer uses the light source to read then only a very bright light will satisfy the customer. However if the customer holds a conversation then a much less bright light will satisfy the customer. The relationship between brightness, satisfaction and context is shown in figure 1.
Figure 1.Satisfaction with the product attribute of brightness depends on the task .
A similar relationship can be shown between a transportation product’s attribute of fuel economy and the price of gas. Figure 2 shows a mode of transportation with a much lower fuel economy will satisfy a potential customer when the price of gas is low, say $1.00 per gallon, but when the price of gas rises to $5.00 per gallon much better fuel economy is required to satisfy the customer. See Figure 2. for details. This is why few SUV sales plummet and small car sales rise when the price of gas spikes.
Figure 2.Satisfaction with a mode of transportation depends on fuel cost .
How does this help us design better products?
To set the target values for the product’s attributes designers must consider how the product will be used, or the context of the product, in order to satisfy the customer.
To learn how to determine the context of the product you are designing click here.