Social Constraints in the Use of Technology

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” - Thomas A. Edison

Social constraints can contribute much to those 10,000 ways that don't work. Rarely anticipated in the initial design process, what customers will and will not put up with in terms of new products are a critical constraint to what engineers design and develop for eventual products.
  • Is it legal?
  • Will it be misused?
  • Does it look too different from the norm?
  • Is it believable?
These and many other social questions are important to consider during all phases of the design process. Failure to consider these questions and subsequent social constraints has led to many a failure in product introduction and product longevity. An unfortunate subset of these failures has gained widespread public attention as massive product flops.

Whether a massive flop or simply a failure to achieve target profits, products that are submarined by social constraints can be avoided by exploring these potential reactions by society and customers early on in the design and development process.

Don't risk a product flop! Explore social constraints as early as possible in the design process.

Join us as we take a look at the complex web of social constraints that surround any design that is intended for use in the real world — through case studies in product flops and failures.

Know more:
Social Constraints in Product Design


This work has been conducted in collaboration with the University of Washington and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation (DUE-1245464).