Redström, J. (2006) Towards user design? On the shift from object to user as the subject of design, Design Studies Vol 27 (No 2) (2006), pp. 123-139

The paper talks about the shifting the focus of designing from objects to the user and user experience.

The author explains how the shift from object to the user has been witnessed from the social transformation, liberation through efficiency and modernist movement’s point of view. It states that the focus of shift first migrated from the form to the function that is the use of the object which then further moved closer to the users when the user, their reaction and experiences i.e communication became the central entities of the focus. The last step in the progression towards the user is designing the reactions of the process of interaction with the product i.e their experiences with using the object.

The author further says that the idea of designing users and their experiences has been generated by the reasons of why nice design failed to get approval of the people.

The current approach is to design the user and their experiences is creating the fit between the object and the users based on the knowledge about the use and the users. But according to author, using the knowledge about the users and the use for designing is problematic because it creates a tight fit between the object and user which leaves very less space for the users to act and improvise. This approach is equivalent to imposing design on the people. The author says that the process of becoming users, interpreting the objects in terms of use generates alternative interpretations of what the use of the object should be like.
But in order overcome this problem if the efforts are being made to optimize this fit instead of creating tight fit, the problem of what is being designed and who is going to use it arises as optimization is always performed for the sake of something which is quite problematic since this whole process if based on the predictions rooted in the knowledge about the user and use.

In the end through all the discussion made the author he again reverts back to design the object by saying that even when we are designing the user and their experiences, the object is still the focus of the design perspectives.