Abstract

While basic design principles tend to be visually oriented, a user-centred design perspective focuses on the product experience and hence is multi-sensory. Moreover, the sensory qualities of products can relate to perceived product personalities. This paper describes a pilot investigation in a design principles course. We used an existing product personality tool for evaluating perceptions associated with a number of small mechanical everyday products. Initially students explored links between visual qualities of products and meanings and emotional responses derived from them. Subsequently, they observed participants’ multi-sensory experiences with the same products with the objective of understanding the differences in perception between purely visual experiences and other sensory layers of human-object interactions. The paper concludes that tactile and auditory sensory design attributes contribute additional and sometimes different meanings, emotional responses, and interactions to everyday products, and possibly into whole product categories. Product design educators can benefit from expanding their introduction to form-giving from a strongly visually-oriented approach to a multi-layered approach for detailing sensory characteristics of products, especially auditory and tactile features.

Keywords:

Multi-Sensory Experiences, Sensory Product Attributes, Product Personalities

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Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Teaching a User-Centred Approach to Exploring Product Personalities and Sensory Attributes

While basic design principles tend to be visually oriented, a user-centred design perspective focuses on the product experience and hence is multi-sensory. Moreover, the sensory qualities of products can relate to perceived product personalities. This paper describes a pilot investigation in a design principles course. We used an existing product personality tool for evaluating perceptions associated with a number of small mechanical everyday products. Initially students explored links between visual qualities of products and meanings and emotional responses derived from them. Subsequently, they observed participants’ multi-sensory experiences with the same products with the objective of understanding the differences in perception between purely visual experiences and other sensory layers of human-object interactions. The paper concludes that tactile and auditory sensory design attributes contribute additional and sometimes different meanings, emotional responses, and interactions to everyday products, and possibly into whole product categories. Product design educators can benefit from expanding their introduction to form-giving from a strongly visually-oriented approach to a multi-layered approach for detailing sensory characteristics of products, especially auditory and tactile features.

 

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