Product Stigmaticity: Understanding, Measuring and Managing Product-Related Stigma

Stigma-free Product Design. Many of the products intended to relieve us from discomforting or unsafe situations and many medical and assistive devices are experienced as unpleasant and uncomfortable.

On top of their discomfort, product users may also experience social unease from the people around them. Just like people may be rejected because of traits they may or may not have control over, a product can also be the causal factor of rejection or stigma. Although many assistive, protective or medical devices are helpful and functional, they often lack appeal. To improve day-to-day life for people who depend on these products, our research provides experimental techniques and tools that strive beyond functional gratification and address the user’s emotional and social needs.

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Author: Kristof Romain Viktor Vaes
Department: Delft University of Technology, Antwerp University

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