Acquisition of the customer data for product design selection using conventional customer survey techniques can be a time-consuming and costly undertaking. The aim of this paper is to overcome this limitation by using web based User-Generated Content (UGC) as an alternative to the conventional customer survey techniques. UGC refers to various public media contents created by web users including contents in online customer reviews, blogs, and social networking interactions. So far, there has not been any systematic effort in using UGC in design selection for a customer durable product. Using UGC in product design selection is not an easy task because UGC can be freely expressed and written by customers with little constraints, structure and bounds. As a result, UGC can contain a lot of noise, variability in content and even bias induced by the customers. In order to make use of UGC, this paper develops a systematic methodology for eliciting product attributes from UGC, constructing customer preference models and using these models in design selection. To demonstrate the proposed method, design selection of a smartphone using UGC is considered as an example. It is shown in the example that the proposed method can provide a reasonable estimation of customer preferences while being useful for product design selection.

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