The product ecology is a way to understand and design for different social relationships and experiences that people develop with intelligent products. The concept is derived from social ecology theory in social science, where research is done on an environment and the relationships of the people within it. The product ecology is a means of strengthening the conceptual foundations of how designers can incorporate knowledge about social relationships into the design of products that are used by a number of diverse people. The ecology can also contribute to understanding the role of intelligent technology in products that adapt to people as they adapt to products.
The product ecology can be used as a tool for design research and practice for those in the disciplines of design. It can also be used by non-designers working with designers as a way to blend theory and practice in the design of new products and systems.
Forlizzi, J. (2008). The Product Ecology: Understanding Social Product Use and Supporting Design Culture. International Journal of Design V2N1, 11-20. [local pdf, 500 KB]
Copyright 2008 Jodi Forlizzi.