Chapter 10
Interactive Virtual Prototyping for Improving the Design of Consumer Products


In the evolving scenario of the global market, companies need to improve their competitiveness by innovating their traditional products and processes. In order to better understand the product development process typically implemented by industry, and the possible room for improvement, it is also important to take into consideration the evolution of products and of their users. Today’s products for the consumer market are more complex, and their aesthetic and usability aspects deserve more attention than in the past. Therefore, achieving a good balance between form and function is crucial [1]. Although the shape is strictly related with the aesthetic impact, it can also affect the functional requirements of the product, which must be satisfied. Therefore, quite often, the original shape has to be defined, and redefined, so as to best satisfy both the user’s aesthetic preferences and the functional requirements. The full satisfaction of consumers is increasingly becoming a key element of successful business strategies. Actually, customers’ preferences and attitudes have changed: more and more customers want to buy customized and personalized products [2]. This is the case for several kinds of products, including cars, domestic and electronic appliances, shoes, garments, and many others. So the personalization of products to fulfill specific requests from customers is becoming a key factor for success.

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