Tag Product Design

The Influence of Product Exposure on Trendiness and Aesthetic Appraisal

This research demonstrates that a product’s trendiness is influenced by the experiences people have with products currently found in the market. Designers should therefore take into account the physical properties of the products on the market within a specific product category and market segment in order to design products that are perceived as trendy and thus aesthetically appealing.

Designers use product attributes (e.g., trendiness) to design aesthetically appealing products. The relationships of physical properties (e.g., shape) of product designs with product attributes and aesthetic appraisal are often considered to be generalizable over product categories and markets. However, in line with an interactionist view, we show that the product’s physical properties in combination with a person’s previous exposure to products influence perception and aesthetic appraisal of product designs. Previous exposure to products provides a prototype to which to compare newly encountered product designs. We show that deviating the physical properties from the combination of physical properties that the prototype is made up of makes a product design look more trendy, and therefore, more aesthetically appealing. Because product categories have different prototypes, the physical properties that make a product design look trendy and aesthetically appealing are product-category dependent (Study 1). Moreover, people in a local market perceive product designs from a global brand as more trendy and more aesthetically appealing than people in a global market, because these product designs deviate more from their prototype (Study 2). Hence, in order to create a product design that is trendy and aesthetically pleasurable, designers should take into account product designs that people are exposed to in their daily life.

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An empirical study of the effectiveness of empathic experience design

Engineers recognize the need for innovation in product design, and many methods are available for creating more innovative products and better satisfying customer needs.

Empathic Experience Design (EED) is one such method. The EED method exposes the designer to empathic experiences, which are intended to help the designer empathize with customers who use the product under a variety of non-ideal conditions and then transfer that enhanced understanding to an ensuing concept generation activity. This thesis studies the effectiveness of the EED methodology when used in conjunction with three types of empathic experiences: sensory, physical, and cognitive. Experiments were conducted over the course of two years, in which students were asked to develop concepts for a next-generation alarm clock or litter collection device; the resulting concepts were analyzed to determine the originality and technical quality of each concept. The subject group concepts, which were developed after participating in empathic experiences, were compared with the control group concepts, which were developed without empathic experiences. The subject group concepts demonstrated significantly higher originality than the control group concepts, without measurable sacrifices in technical quality, as well as significant increases in innovative features related to user interactions. The method has been shown to be effective for enhancing innovation when the empathic experiences are aimed at sensory and kinematic priming activities that challenge a user’s sensory or physical capabilities.

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Author: Daniel Glenn Johnson
Department: Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, TX

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