This month, Ikea released the annual Life at Home report. Now in its third year, the report helps Ikea develop new products, offering a tantalizing glimpse at designs that could shape the look and feel of our homes in the future.
To create the reports, Ikea conducts intensive research as it has done for years during the product development process. "We’ve been doing home visits for many, many years," Mikael Ydholm, head of research at Ikea, says. "We’ve focused very much on, what does it look like? What kinds of functionalities are in the home? How many meters of storage do people have? What do they store? How many pairs of jeans do they have? How do they fold the jeans?"
Such research offers valuable insights, but recently, Ikea began to realize that understanding what people have in their homes is only half the matter. The other part is how people actually use their homes. To achieve this level of understanding, researchers interviewed more than 12,000 people around the world and—because people aren't always forthcoming during interviews—installed (with permission, of course) time-lapse cameras in some homes to see what their day-to-day was really like.
For example, in one study not directly related to the Life at Home report, Ikea wanted to learn how people use their sofa. Most people reported that they use it to sit on and to entertain, but when Ikea reviewed the footage, the company found that people spent most of their time on a sofa lying down. In Asia, many people sat on the floor and used the sofa as a backrest—an insight Ikea wouldn't have learned otherwise.
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This article was published on Fast Company. A link to the original piece appears after the post.
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