Engineering Emotional Values in Product Design : Kansei Engineering in Development
Abstract: Feelings and impressions of a product are important for the decision of purchasing it or not. Designing attractive products therefore requires knowledge about the feelings and impressions the products evoke on the customer and the user. Integrating such affective values in product design requires the introduction of suitable methods into companies’ product design processes, methods which can capture and convert subjective and even unconscious feelings about a product into concrete design parameters. This is sometimes referred to as ‘Affective Engineering’. One methodology in this context is Kansei Engineering, which has been developed in Japan in order to design feelings into products. The aim of this thesis was twofold: Firstly, to improve understanding of the nature of products making emotional impact on the users and customers. Secondly, to identify and improve methods capable of grasping those affective values and translating them into concrete product design solutions. This thesis presents three empirical studies and two methodological papers, relating to warehouse trucks and laminate flooring. The first study was made on user impact of warehouse trucks in three different European countries. A second study dealt with affective values of rocker-switches in work vehicles, such as warehouse trucks. A third study on this truck type compared the old manoeuvring panel evaluated in the previous studies with a newly introduced manoeuvring panel in order to validate the impact of the design improvements made after the first study. Further, a conceptual model on Kansei Engineering methodology was proposed in a methods paper based on the experience from the studies performed in order to provide a structure for performing Kansei Engineering studies. The fifth paper had the purpose of validating and improving the proposed model using laminate flooring as research object. More structured ways of identifying design parameters and relevant product properties was given high priority in the improvement work of the methodology. A model for spanning the Space of Product Properties was presented and applied. This thesis also deals with other improvement areas in the methodology and proposed new developments, including the use of scales, experimental design and validation methods. In conclusion, Kansei Engineering is a concept and a methodology in strong development, a framework in which tools and methods are continuously developed, added and integrated.
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