Concept validation plays a critical role in product design especially in the early design phase of market-driven product design. Due to the presence of ambiguous information, arbitrary interpretation of user needs, and so on, design concept validation remains a challenging task. In this work, we aim to involve customers in the conceptual design phase so that understanding about customer needs, expectations, and satisfaction can be better altered through customer–design interaction. A framework for concept validation using digital prototyping is proposed to actively involve customers in three major validation tasks, i.e., specification solicitation, concept selection, and concept refinement.
Technical challenges of involving customers in conceptual design using digital prototyping are discussed. Our experimental study based on smartphone dimension design reveals the capabilities of the proposed framework. Experimental results suggest when interacting through digital prototyping, customer satisfaction on design concepts can be enhanced by making alterations to customer needs, expectations, and satisfaction.