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Title: Quantifying consumer perception of designer intent
Author: Shigemoto, Yuuki
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 5276
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the relationship between designer intent and consumer response. A novel approach to evaluate the degree of correspondence between designer intent and consumer perceptions has been proposed. The empirical results have shown the influence of consumers’ cultural backgrounds on the way they perceive semantic and symbolic product personalities (characteristics of a product and its owner, respectively), comparing British and Japanese consumer groups. Semantic product personalities are more likely to be universally perceived and more easily intentionally elicited from consumers than symbolic product personalities. The research project consists of a pilot study (Phases I) and an experiment (Phase II) in which mixed methods of interview and survey are employed. Phase I seeks to explore the in-depth understanding of a designer’s thoughts by interviews, and to develop and test newly elaborated consumer surveys termed Designer-driven semantic differentials and Consumer-driven adjective selection. The findings have been considered to construct an analytical framework, characterised by Agreement among consumer perceptions and Correspondence between designer intent and the consumer perceptions, for evaluation of designers’ elicitation of intended product personalities from consumers. Phase II conducts a statistical examination of the impact of cultural difference on consumer perceptions under experimental conditions. The perception of target and non-target consumer groups as categorised by nationality were gauged by Designer-driven semantic differentials and Personality selection, specifically perception of USB sticks designed by three different designers. The survey results are analysed by using descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA and Chi-squared test within the analytical framework. Subsequently, the results from Phase I and II are extensively discussed based on a framework based on brand personality and Affect Control Theory, both of which may involve potential impact on the development of design research into product development with emotional attachment. The scene is set for future research opportunities based on the approach and findings of this study.
Supervisor: Moultrie, James Sponsor: Funai Foundation for Information Technology ; British Council Japan Association ; Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: designer intent ; consumer perception ; design communication ; design management ; consumer response ; semantic differential ; socio-cultural influence ; emotional attachment