Every design is based on some expectations, which explicitly or implicitly determine the product intended meaning and which are realized as design requirements – once conceived relation patterns. These expectations always fit particular environmental conditions, which often become obsolete before the product reaches into the market place. A universal and obvious solution to this problem is to increase as much as possible the synchronic variety of the product by contriving appropriate decisions in design (the notorious idea of re-configurable products). Indeed, the more elaborate the structure of the product (or its concept), the larger the number of environmental situations in which it can maintain. Different product configurations can fit (or be adapted to) different situations and, therefore, in the case of dynamic environments, design evolution should increase the synchronic variety, making the product more complex to adequately react to the environmental changes.
Although the latter statement does not contradict the life-cycle semiosis laws and is, perhaps, true in general, this does not mean that the ‘best’ product must always be the most complex one, i.e. be the product with the maximal synchronic variety. Due to many reasons – economical (costs), technical (reliability), ecological (energy and material consumption, pollution), social and ergonomic (safety, convenience and easiness in production and operation), etc., the best is the product with the simplest possible structure for the given functionality, i.e. with the least possible (for the given environment) synchronic variety. In this sense, the ‘goodness’ or, better say, adequacy of the product depends on the characteristics of product environment in relation to the implemented design expectations, i.e. it depends on how well the intended meaning matches the meanings emerging through onto-, typo-, and phylogenesis (if any).
Design expectations can roughly be classified into two categories: a) functional – the expectations about operation of the product and its functional parameters, and b) environmental – the expectations about the product-environment interaction. In the product life cycle, the distinction dynamics is driven by violations of design expectations. The dynamics of ontogenesis processes, where relation patterns are originally detected to be further interpreted and accepted or rejected for an action, is subject to psychological and physiological laws. Having been differentiated by the time-scale of the corresponding meaning-making processes, violations of functional expectations control the product typogenesis, while violations of environmental expectations influence both the typo- and phylogenesis semiosis processes. Resolving the product intended meaning mismatch is a critical task in design and life cycle engineering that requires the development of the appropriate information technologies and tools.