Design Process and Issues

Close Your Eyes to Remember (01-22-15)

Need to remember details, about the way a space looks, for example?  Close your eyes.  A study published in Legal and Criminology Psychology, indicates that we remember audio and visual details of situations more accurately when we think about them with our eyes closed.

“New Study Finds That Closing Your Eyes Boosts Memory Recall.”  2015. Press release, University of Surrey,

Looking Up, Looking Down (01-15-15)

We form different opinions when we’re looking up than we do when we're looking down.  Designers can display options in various ways, and that’s one context in which this research finding can be applied.  Van Kerckhove, Geuens, and Vermeir learned that “consumers select a different product when they look down versus up. . . . people are accustomed to looking down to process nearby stimuli and to looking up to process distant stimuli, and . . . perceived distance is linked to concrete versus abstract processing. . . .

Temperature Profiles (01-13-15)

Work by Huebner and his colleagues confirms that the ambient temperatures individuals prefer vary.  This variation makes central temperature management difficult.  Huebner and his team studied temperatures in living rooms in England during the winter finding that “homes differ significantly in their respective temperature profile over the course of the day. . . . [the researchers identified] four different clusters of temperature profiles.

More on Metaphorical Links (01-12-15)

Research Design Connections regularly reports on links between metaphors and physical experiences.  Consistent with those findings, Sullivan determined that “images of open books with bright backgrounds are rated as more likely to represent works of genius than open books with darker backgrounds. When books are closed, their ‘genius’ is inaccessible and INTELLIGENCE IS BRIGHTNESS has no effect.”  This research has implications for interior design decisions as well as for the conduct of professional meetings where findings are reported.

Aesthetics Trumps Functionality (12-24-14)

Is functionality or aesthetics more important when products are being evaluated?  Researchers have found, by analyzing data related to car purchases, that “the social value and emotional value that a design provides to consumers [via aesthetics] have a greater effect on brand affection than purely transactional values, such as functional value or economic value.”

Minu Kumar, Janell Townsend and Douglas Vorhies.  “Enhancing Consumers’ Affection for a Brand Using Product Design.”  Journal of Product Innovation Management, in press.


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