0
Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

A Test of the Rapid Formation of Design Cues for Product Body Shapes and Features

[+] Author and Article Information
Ping Du

UX Researcher Dollar Shave Club,
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
e-mail: dping1516@gmail.com

Erin F. MacDonald

Mechanical Engineering,
Stanford University,
Stanford, CA 94305
e-mail: erinmacd@stanford.edu

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received August 2, 2017; final manuscript received March 3, 2018; published online May 23, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Irem Tumer.

J. Mech. Des 140(7), 071102 (May 23, 2018) (14 pages) Paper No: MD-17-1529; doi: 10.1115/1.4039768 History: Received August 02, 2017; Revised March 03, 2018

Consumers often use a product's visual design as a mental shortcut to judge its unobservable attributes. Mental associations between visual design and unobservable attributes aid consumers in their judgments, and hypothetically reduce consumers' mental load. This paper describes a study that shows the possibility of quickly creating an association in subjects' minds between a holistic visual cue of a product—its body shape—and the general idea of “environmentally friendly” versus “not environmentally friendly,” a typically unobservable attribute. In this study, products' actual environmental friendliness was not measured. Subjects completed an association-building task, in which they developed mental associations between a product's visual cues and its “environmental friendliness” rating, an arbitrarily predetermined rating the authors supplied. The body shape was successfully used as a cue to subliminally communicate to subjects the product's “environmental friendliness.” As a comparison, an individual feature of the product was also used to cue; however, that was unsuccessful. An eye-tracking device was used to identify where subjects were focusing their eyes and for how long. In both the association-building task and a testing task that followed, subjects spent a greater percentage of time looking at the product's cued areas (the body and the selected feature). But during the testing task, subjects spent an even higher percentage of their time looking at the cued areas than they did during the association-building task. This indicates that mental associations, or cues, work to distribute mental load more efficiently.

FIGURES IN THIS ARTICLE
<>
Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Design , Testing , Bicycles , Shapes
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.

References

Reid, T. N. , Gonzalez, R. D. , and Papalambros, P. Y. , 2010, “ Quantification of Perceived Environmental Friendliness for Vehicle Silhouette Design,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 132(10), p. 101010. [CrossRef]
MacDonald, E. F. , Gonzalez, R. , and Papalambros, P. Y. , 2009, “ The Construction of Preferences for Crux and Sentinel Product Attributes,” J. Eng. Des., 20(6), pp. 609–626. [CrossRef]
Gigerenzer, G. , 2004, “ Fast and Frugal Heuristics: The Tools of Bounded Rationality,” Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making, D. J. Koehler and N. Harvey , eds., Oxford, UK. [CrossRef]
Du, P. , and MacDonald, E. , 2015, “ Products' Shared Visual Features Do Not Cancel in Consumer Decisions,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 137(7), p. 071409. [CrossRef]
She, J. J. , and MacDonald, E. , 2014, “ Priming Designers to Communicate Sustainability,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 136(1), p. 011001.
MacDonald, E. F. , and She, J. , 2015, “ Seven Cognitive Concepts for Successful Eco-Design,” J. Cleaner Prod., 92, pp. 23–36. [CrossRef]
Berkowitz, M. , 1987, “ Product Shape as a Design Innovation Strategy,” J. Prod. Innovation Manage., 4(4), pp. 274–283. [CrossRef]
Chandler, J. J. , Reinhard, D. , and Schwarz, N. , 2012, “ To Judge a Book by Its Weight You Need to Know Its Content: Knowledge Moderates the Use of Embodied Cues,” J. Exp. Soc. Psychol., 48(4), pp. 948–952. [CrossRef]
Wänke, M. , Bless, H. , and Schwarz, N. , 1998, “ Context Effects in Product Line Extensions: Context is Not Destiny,” J. Consumer Psychol., 7(4), pp. 299–322. [CrossRef]
Dawar, N. , and Parker, P. , 1994, “ Marketing Universals: Consumers' Use of Brand Name, Price, Physical Appearance, and Retailer Reputation as Signals of Product Quality,” J. Mark., 58(2), pp. 81–95. [CrossRef]
Kirmani, A. , 1990, “ The Effect of Perceived Advertising Costs on Brand Perceptions,” J. Consumer Res., 17(2), pp. 160–171. [CrossRef]
Brown, C. L. , and Carpenter, G. S. , 2000, “ Why is the Trivial Important? A Reasons-Based Account for the Effects of Trivial Attributes on Choice,” J. Consumer Res., 26(4), pp. 372–385. [CrossRef]
Simonson, I. , Carmon, Z. , and O'curry, S. , 1994, “ Experimental Evidence on the Negative Effect of Product Features and Sales Promotions on Brand Choice,” Mark. Sci., 13(1), pp. 23–40. [CrossRef]
Carpenter, G. S. , Glazer, R. , and Nakamoto, K. , 1994, “ Meaningful Brands From Meaningless Differentiation: The Dependence on Irrelevant Attributes,” J. Mark. Res., 31(3), pp. 339–350. [CrossRef]
Tseng, I. , Cagan, J. , Kotovsky, K. , and Wood, M. , 2013, “ Form Function Fidelity,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 135(1), p. 011006. [CrossRef]
Lai, H. H. , Chang, Y. M. , and Chang, H. C. , 2005, “ A Robust Design Approach for Enhancing the Feeling Quality of a Product: A Car Profile Case Study,” Int. J. Ind. Ergonom., 35(5), pp. 445–460. [CrossRef]
Dagher, A. , and Petiot, J.-F. , 2007, “ Study of the Correlation Between User Preferences and Design Factors: Application to Cars Front-End Design,” The International Conference on Engineering Design, (ICED'07), Paris, France, Aug. 28–31, pp. 1–12. https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjfntP4idDaAhWMtlMKHRKbA3oQFggmMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.designsociety.org%2Fdownload-publication%2F25735%2FStudy%2Bof%2Bthe%2BCorrelations%2BBetween%2BUser%2BPreferences%2Band%2BDesign%2BFactors%253A%2BApplication%2Bto%2BCars%2BFront-End%2BDesign&usg=AOvVaw07dmPbvkLpIB7Eod3J1-i6
Orbay, G. , Fu, L. T. , and Kara, L. B. , 2015, “ Deciphering the Influence of Product Shape on Consumer Judgments Through Geometric Abstraction,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 137(8), p. 081103. [CrossRef]
Yumer, M. E. , Chaudhuri, S. , Hodgins, J. K. , and Kara, L. B. , 2015, “ Semantic Shape Editing Using Deformation Handles,” ACM Trans. Graph., 34(4), p. 86. [CrossRef]
Reid, T. , MacDonald, E. , and Du, P. , 2013, “ Impact of Product Design Representation on Customer Judgment,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 135(9), p. 091008. [CrossRef]
MacDonald, E. F. , Lubensky, A. , Sohns, B. , and Papalambros, P. Y. , 2009, “ Product Semantics and Wine Portfolio Optimisation,” Int. J. Prod. Develop., 7(1/2), pp. 73–98. [CrossRef]
She, J. , and MacDonald, E. , 2013, “ Trigger Features on Prototypes Increase Preference for Sustainability,” ASME Paper No. DETC2013-12973.
Kelly, J. C. , Maheut, P. , Petiot, J. , and Papalambros, P. , 2011, “ Incorporating User Shape Preference in Engineering Design Optimisation,” J. Eng. Des., 22(9), pp. 627–650. [CrossRef]
Swamy, S. , Orsborn, S. , Michalek, J. , and Cagan, J. , 2007, “ Measurement of Headlight Form Preference Using Choice Based Conjoint Analysis,” ASME Paper No. DETC2007-35409.
Orsborn, S. , Cagan, J. , and Boatwright, P. , 2009, “ Quantifying Aesthetic Form Preference in a Utility Function,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 131(6), p. 061001. [CrossRef]
Just, M. A. , and Carpenter, P. A. , 1976, “ Eye Fixations and Cognitive Processes,” Cognit. Psychol., 8(4), pp. 441–480. [CrossRef]
Du, P. , and MacDonald, E. , 2014, “ Eye-Tracking Data Predict Importance of Product Features and Saliency of Size Change,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 136(8), p. 081005. [CrossRef]
Du, P. , and MacDonald, E. , 2015, “ Eye-Tracking Aids in Understanding Consumer Product Evaluations,” The Psychology of Design: Creating Consumer Desire, R. Batra , D. Brei , and C. Seifert , eds., M.E. Sharpe, New York.
Duchowski, A. T. , 2007, Eye Tracking Methodology: Theory and Practice, Springer, London.
Ashby, F. G. , Maddox, W. T. , and Bohil, C. J. , 2002, “ Observational Versus Feedback Training in Rule-Based and Information-Integration Category Learning,” Mem. Cognit., 30(5), pp. 666–677. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Pernice, K. , and Nielsen, J. , 2009, How to Conduct Eyetracking Studies, Nielsen Norman Group, Fremont, CA.
She, J. , 2013, “Designing Features That Influence Decisions About Sustainable Products,” Ph.D. thesis, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/etd/13584/
Evans, J. S. B. T. , and Stanovich, K. E. , 2013, “ Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate,” Perspect. Psychol. Sci., 8(3), pp. 223–241. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Maxcey-Richard, A. M. , and Hollingworth, A. , 2013, “ The Strategic Retention of Task-Relevant Objects in Visual Working Memory,” J. Exp. Psychol.: Learn., Mem., Cognit., 39(3), pp. 760–772. [CrossRef]
Hollingworth, A. , Matsukura, M. , and Luck, S. J. , 2013, “ Visual Working Memory Modulates Low-Level Saccade Target Selection: Evidence From Rapidly Generated Saccades in the Global Effect Paradigm,” J. Vision, 13(13), pp. 1–18. [CrossRef]

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Literature identifying effects of body design and feature design on consumer judgments of products

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Selected visual design cues for the electric bicycle and the electric heater

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Sample product images with positive cues (P), negative cues (N), and neutral variants (Ø)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Demonstration of the association-building task

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Summary and illustration of the comprehension questions about the electric bicycle

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Example AOIs specified for the experiment

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Results from the testing task. Body-cues and body-plus-feature cues affect “environmental friendliness” ratings in the desired direction. Feature-cues alone have no effect. Statistical significances obtained from pairwise comparisons with {Body, Feature} are specified as: + for p < 0.1; * for p < 0.05; ** for p < 0.01; *** for p < 0.0001. Error bars indicate ±1 standard errors.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Subjects evaluate the products more efficiently after the association-building task by decreasing their attention on the uncued AOIs and increasing their attention on the cued AOIs. *** for p < 0.0001. Error bars indicate ±1 standard errors.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Average ratings of “environmental friendliness” for the design variants obtained from the post-task survey questions

Tables

Errata

Discussions

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In