Designing web platforms for the intermediation between local designers and craftspeople and global consumers
The purpose of this work is to discuss strategies for communicating and adding value to local products, and enhancing the interaction between local makers and global consumers through web platforms. The research focused on “Indie Design”, a movement made up of independent designers, artists and craftspeople that design and make a wide array of products without being part of large, industrialized businesses. There are many challenges to be faced in order to promote this kind of artifacts, this paper focused on the following: how to perceive local qualities of a product; how to communicate these qualities to global consumers; how to evaluate products’ specific aspects related to their authenticity and sustainability; and what the best strategies for supporting local-global interactions are. Case studies of web platforms were discussed to address these issues and to highlight the designer mediation role in developing business strategies, interfaces and tools to bring producers and consumers together. Finally, a product assessment matrix was developed as a guideline for the evaluation of the characteristics and the social, economic and environmental impacts of local products.
Key words: local products, Indie Design, intermediation platforms, sustainability assessment.
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