Research Papers

Impact of Product Design Representation on Customer Judgment

[+] Author and Article Information
Tahira N. Reid

School of Mechanical Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: tahira@purdue.edu

Erin F. MacDonald

e-mail: erinmacd@iastate.edu

Ping Du

e-mail: pdu@iastate.edu
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Iowa State University,
Ames, IA 50011

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the Journal of Mechanical Design. Manuscript received August 4, 2012; final manuscript received May 16, 2013; published online July 15, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Jonathan Cagan.

J. Mech. Des 135(9), 091008 (Jul 15, 2013) (12 pages) Paper No: MD-12-1397; doi: 10.1115/1.4024724 History: Received August 04, 2012; Revised May 16, 2013

When researchers ask customers to judge product form during the design process, they often manipulate simplified product representations, such as silhouettes and sketches, to gather information on which designs customers prefer. Using simplified forms, as opposed to detailed realistic models, make the analysis of gathered information tractable and also allows the researcher to guide customer focus. The theory of constructed preferences from psychology suggests that the product form presented will influence customer judgments. This paper presents a study in which subjects were shown computer sketches, front/side view silhouettes, simplified renderings, and realistic renderings to test the extent to which a variety of judgments including opinions, objective evaluations, and inferences are affected by form presentation. Results show a variety of phenomena including preference inconsistencies and ordering effects that differed across type of judgment. For example, while inferences were consistent across form, opinions were not. An eye tracker identified differences in viewing strategies while making decisions. Associated data, such as fixation times and fixation counts, provide additional insight into findings.

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Fig. 1

Judgment categorization used in experimental design

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Fig. 2

Sample product pairs shown in each group

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Fig. 3

Example objective evaluation questions of coffee carafe for each survey version

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Fig. 4

Sample paired question showing scan path data

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Fig. 5

Comparison of mean fixation times for preference evaluations, coffee carafe computer sketches. Carafe shown on left in Survey is Displayed left

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Fig. 6

Comparison of mean fixation times for preference evaluations, cars simple renderings. Car shown on Left in Survey is Displayed left

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Fig. 7

Realistic renderings (left) and computer sketches (right) of coffee carafes, manipulated dimensions noted as “height” and “width”

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Fig. 8

Simple renderings (top) and FSV silhouettes (bottom) of cars used in the study

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Fig. 9

Three levels for headlight vertical position

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Fig. 10

Three levels for curvature of bumper

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Fig. 11

Dimensions for overall width (a), distance between cowl and tire center (b), and overall length (c).



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