Abstract

Many medical and assistive devices are experienced as unpleasant and uncomfortable. On top of their discomfort, product users may also experience social unease. We label this process “product-related stigma” (PRS). This paper presents two measuring techniques that aim to objectively assess the ‘degree’ of PRS that is ‘attached’ to products. Both experiments focus on the behavioral deviations in the walking path of passers-by during a public and unprepared encounter with a user of a stigma-sensitive product (dust mask). The ‘Dyadic Distance Experiment’ measures exact interpersonal distances, whereas the ‘Stain Dilemma Experiment’ presents the passer-by with a choice in his walking path. Both experimental techniques are predominantly suited as comparison tools, able to compare products on their PRS-eliciting potential. Designers and developers can use these results to justify design decisions with quantitative data, to assess which product properties have influenced certain reactions, and to what extent subsequent improvements have been successful.

Keywords:

product semantics, design for health, design and emotion, inclusive design

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 17th, 12:00 AM

Measuring Product - Related Stigma in Design

Many medical and assistive devices are experienced as unpleasant and uncomfortable. On top of their discomfort, product users may also experience social unease. We label this process “product-related stigma” (PRS). This paper presents two measuring techniques that aim to objectively assess the ‘degree’ of PRS that is ‘attached’ to products. Both experiments focus on the behavioral deviations in the walking path of passers-by during a public and unprepared encounter with a user of a stigma-sensitive product (dust mask). The ‘Dyadic Distance Experiment’ measures exact interpersonal distances, whereas the ‘Stain Dilemma Experiment’ presents the passer-by with a choice in his walking path. Both experimental techniques are predominantly suited as comparison tools, able to compare products on their PRS-eliciting potential. Designers and developers can use these results to justify design decisions with quantitative data, to assess which product properties have influenced certain reactions, and to what extent subsequent improvements have been successful.

 

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