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Design Process and Issues

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.

Amplified Experiences (12-23-14)

Boothby, Clark, and Bargh report that sharing amplifies experience, which has repercussions for the experience of design in more public spaces and related research.  The researchers state that “sharing an experience with another person, without communicating, amplifies one’s experience.  Both pleasant and unpleasant experiences were more intense when shared. . . . people may be built to automatically imagine or simulate how other people see, hear, smell, taste, and feel things, and these imaginings or simulations could affect people’s own perceptions. . . .

Bitter Tastes and Hostility (12-22-14)

Most designers don’t plan on influencing what users taste, so the research described in the next sentences is shared to illustrate the complex interrelationships between sensations and experiences.  Sagioglou and Greitemeyer found via an experiment that “bitter taste increases hostility. . . . hostile affect [mood] and behavior is increased by bitter taste experiences. . . .  Importantly, stimulus [taste] aversiveness and intensity did not influence the effects observed, ruling them out as explanations.”

Distinguishing Biomimicry and Biophilia (12-19-14)

Kellert has written an important article that clearly distinguishes between biophilia and biomimicry.  As he describes, “Both the concepts of biophilia and biomimicry focus on the human relationship to nature, based on the belief that by better understanding the processes of evolutionary adaptation, we will be able to utilize this knowledge to advance human interests, particularly in the design of the built environment and in fostering a more sustainable world.

Weather and Personality Measurements (12-15-14)

Design is increasingly being customized for users based on individual differences, such as personality.  Researchers have learned that weather conditions can influence scores on “personality self-ratings. . . . self-ratings for some personality domains differed depending on the weather conditions on the day the inventory was completed. When compared with corresponding self-ratings collected under mixed weather conditions, ratings for . . . Openness to Experience were significantly lower on rainy days and ratings for Conscientiousness were significantly lower on sunny days.”

Importance of Seeing Data (12-09-14)

Kirk reports that it is important to present data collected visually.  He concludes that “If statistics can be said to describe and quantify the characteristics of data, visualization is what enables us to actually see the data.  In harmony, they give us the most thorough understanding of data.”  Many techniques for visually presenting data are illustrated at the web address noted below.

Not So Far Outside the Box (12-02-14)

Chan, Dow, and Schunn investigated how sources of inspiration influence design solution creativity.  They report that “Design ideas often come from sources of inspiration (e.g., analogous designs, prior experiences). . . . we test the popular but unevenly supported hypothesis that conceptually distant sources of inspiration provide the best insights for creative production. Through text analysis of hundreds of design concepts across a dozen different design challenges on a Web-based innovation platform that tracks connections to sources of inspiration, we find that . . .

Perils of Approaching (12-01-14)

Yanping Tu, and colleagues Christopher Hsee, Zoe Lu, and Bowen Ruan, recently completed research indicating that people may not be positive toward individuals and things that seem to be approaching them.  As reported, “people feel more negative toward individuals, images, and sounds if those ‘stimuli’ are perceived to be approaching them.  This aversion has cautionary implications for public speakers who like to get close to their audience as well as for marketers who zoom in on products.”  It seems likely that some of the effects seen are related to perceived invasions of pe

Making Space: How the Brain Knows Where Things Are

Outlines new ways to  think about space and how to use it

By Jennifer Groh. 2014. The Belknap Press: Cambridge, MA.