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Design and Measurement of Emotions in Product Design

By Carlos M. Rodriguez posted 10-22-2020 18:09


PDMA Body of Knowledge: Product Design & Development Tools Insights #1

PDMA Body of Knowledge: Product Design & Development Tools Insights #1

Read time:
10 minutes

The kHUB Curator Team members have each been assigned a BoK section to own. This includes seeking, editing and sharing content related to that section.  The curators are also sharing their perspective of various sub-sections of their chapter and contributing personal examples, experience, or related articles corresponding to the subject matter.

Chapter 4 Insights – Product Design & Development Tools

Design and Measurement of Emotions in Product Design 

Design must seduce, shape, and perhaps more importantly, evoke an emotional response” --April Greiman

When consumers interact with products or services, a connection is built from the very first moment. Consumers immediately process the sensory information that emanates from the product, which they use to construct a mental representation. Will this product last? Is it reliable? Does it deliver the functions needed? Is it economical? When answering these questions, consumers form attributions immediately about the product’s functions, performance, and value based on how they interpret the incoming information. In today’s markets, consumers are particularly concerned about the feelings that brands create. How the product makes me feel about myself? becomes the intrinsic reward consumers attempt to satisfy. Consumers value the emotional connection as their relationships with brands deepens. In a recent study, consumers perceive 52% more value when a full emotional connection is established (see figure 1). Elements embedded in products will provoke emotions as part of the experience of using them. Emotional design focuses on designing products so they can elicit specific emotions during the first impression, during the interaction phase, and after the usage experience has concluded.

Figure 1: Value of Emotional Connection: As customers’ relationships with a brand deepens, they move along the pathway toward full emotional connection. Although they become more valuable at each step, there’s a dramatic increase at the final one. Across a sample of nine categories, fully connected customers are 52% more valuable on average, than those who are just high satisfied.

Source:  Adapted from Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon (2015), The New Science of Customer Emotions, November, Harvard Business Review.

All the products and services that surround us have meanings, as consumers place a value in their everyday significance and the role they play in their lives. Not only must product satisfy our needs and wants through functionality, but the experience should be positive, pleasurable, and enjoyable when we interact with them. Consistent delivery reinforces the feelings associated with the experience and build trust. At that moment, an emotional relationship is formed.

Designers must establish the intensity and direction of the emotional content generated by the form, texture, and appearance of products. Being able to “design” particular emotions and measure their impact on consumers’ evaluation is imperative, particularly during the conceptualization stage within the NPD process. To this purpose, designers must quantify the impact of feature and attributes on consumers’ emotional reactions as prototyping and testing are carried out in the design process.

Several methodologies have been implemented in industry applications. The most important methods are: quantification theory I, regression analysis, partial least squares (PLS), multiple regression with indicators, and categorical analysis among others.

One of most preferred method in industry is Kansei Engineering. Kansei methodology was developed by Professor Mitsuo Nagamachi at the Hiroshima University, Japan. The technique has been successfully applied in the design of the Miata Mazda sports car, Sharp’s Liquid Chrystal ViewCAM, and packaging applications at Nestle, Ltd among others.

Kansei is a design approach to capture the consumer’s expected feeling (Kansei) and interaction needs and organizing product requirements to trigger particular emotions. Kansei engineering is a product development method that measures consumers’ feeling, impressions, values, and affective needs and translate them into concrete product solutions and parameters. Kansei shows the correlations between users’ feeling and product properties. Figure 2 is a basic description of the affective process Kansei Engineering follows.

Figure 2: The Kansei Engineering Affective Process

Source: Rodriguez, Carlos M. (2016), Emotional Design Methodology, Chapter 7, Product Design and Innovation: Analytics for Decision Making, CreativeSpace Publishing

Several other quantitative methods are used to assess and design emotions in products and services. These are: Sentiment Analysis, Kano Method, Neural Networks, Reaction Card, Affinity Diagrams, PrEmo2, Geneva Emotion Wheel (GEW), and Component Process Model (CPM). For a more detailed explanation of each of these methods, the reader would like to review the kHUB PDMA Knowledge Hub, Product Design and Development Tools, Chapter 4, NPDP Certification Body of Knowledge, Second edition, 2020.

About the Author

Carlos Rodriguez

Carlos M Rodriguez is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Quantitative Methods and Director of the Center for the Study of Innovation Management, CSIM in the College of Business, Delaware State University, USA. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Business ResearchJournal of Business to Business MarketingJournal of International MarketingInternational Marketing ReviewManagement DecisionInternational Journal of Business and Social SciencesJournal of Business and Leadership, and Journal of Higher Education Research & Development among others and several conference proceedings. Currently, he serves in the editorial board of several journals. His research interests are in the areas of entrepreneurship and strategic capabilities, luxury branding and experiences, product design and new product development teams, and relationship marketing. He recently published the book entitled Product Design and Innovation: Analytics for Decision Making centered in the design techniques and methodologies vital to the product design process. He is engaged in several international educational, research, and academic projects, as well, as, international professional activities.

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