Despite the volume of work on the subject, product design and its conceptualization has remained relatively abstract. There is hardly any discussion about the holistic meaning of design, especially with regards to its meaning for a user. This paper aims to explore consumer design perception to provide it a multidimensional definition and measure that is more relevant to industrial designers.
The study was done in two qualitative phases: the first to generate and confirm the design dimensions pre-conceived from literature, corroborated with consumer voices; and the second to include gamified depth interviews triangulated with conventional depth interviews and word association-based correspondence analysis to generate items that can measure each of those dimensions.
The first study confirms five dimensions of consumer design perception: visual, functional, kinesthetic, interface and information. Following the second phase, the study proposes five items for visual design, seven for functional design, three for kinesthetic design, four for interface design and five for information design.
Though through multiple qualitative studies, combined with literary evidence, this work provides reasonable qualitative validity to the findings, a semiotic analysis-based methodologies that can further concretize, if not refute, the findings. Rooted in the theory of design value, the study explores transformation of design values, from the designer’s domain to that of a consumer. While each of the design constructs has gone through a thorough investigation in literature, this work is the first to provide a unified theory of consumer design perception.
implications Designers have long struggled to know what consumers want. There is a clear divide in designers and consumers’ meanings of design. This study attempts to bridge this divide. Items measuring each construct should enable them in tweaking their offerings to a consumer’s liking.
Design is an abstract term and can be applied by a designer or a consumer. Dimensionalization of this complex term for better understanding using innovative qualitative tools serves as an original contribution to field of design research.
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