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Title: Design for better comprehension : investigating the influence of product appearance on consumers' comprehension of really new products
Authors: Cheng, Peiyao
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: This doctoral thesis investigates the potential of designing product appearance to facilitate consumers' comprehension of really new products (RNPs). RNPs (also known as discontinuous or radical innovations) refer to product innovations that integrate advanced technology that enables consumers to do things that they were previously unable to do. The success of RNPs ultimately depends on consumers' adoption. Consumers' lack of comprehension threats their adoption of RNPs. To facilitate consumers' comprehension of RNPs, current research mainly focuses on developing the strategies used in advertisements. This thesis extends this line of research by investigating the influence of product appearance. Chapter 1 introduces several key concepts (i.e., RNPs, consumers' adoption process, consumers' resistance and its consequences and reasons) and highlights the importance of consumers' comprehension. Chapter 2 outlines the relevant literature, including the advertisement strategies to stimulate consumers' adoption of RNPs and the studies on the roles of product appearance in consumers' processing of products. Next, three potential factors were proposed, which can influence consumers' comprehension of RNPs: visual complexity, transparency, and product metaphor. The following chapter investigates each of them. Chapter 3 investigated the influence of visual complexity on consumers' comprehension of product innovations. Through a controlled experiment, Study 1 revealed that visual complexity can trigger consumers' perceived congruence with RNPs' innovative functionality, which brought fluent processing, leading to enhanced consumers' comprehension of RNPs. To translate this theoretical finding, the design principle 'complexity in simplicity' was proposed, which referred to selectively increasing visual complexity to trigger congruence with product functionality while still keeping overall simplicity. Study 2 conducted experienced designer interviews, resulting in the specific ways to achieve this design principle.
Chapter 4 focused on transparency in product innovations. Study 3 conducted designer interviews to learn the design intentions for using transparency in product innovations. Results revealed the design intention to assist consumers' comprehension when using transparency in product innovations, as well as other intentions, resulting in an overview of design intentions: facilitate consumers' comprehension, enrich visual appeal, enrich product experience, improve product usability, and demonstrate product functionality. These design intentions were further validated through consumer interviews in Study 4. Chapter 5 investigated the influence of product metaphors on consumers' comprehension of RNPs. Based on the analogical learning process, the potential and risks of product metaphors on influencing consumers' comprehension of RNPs were analyzed. Through experimental approach, Study 5 demonstrated that product metaphors can improve consumers' comprehension when combined with accompanying textual clues that explained the similarities between the source product and the target RNP. The sole presence of product metaphors lead to reduced consumers' comprehension. To further explore the risks, Study 6 conducted consumer interviews. Results revealed that the risk of solely presenting product metaphors lay in consumers' lack of ability to detect the specific correspondences between sources and target RNPs. Chapter 6 summarizes the key findings, discusses the theoretical contributions, and outlines the practical implications. The implications can help designers and managers to develop RNPs that are comprehensible for consumers, which further contributes to the overall success of RNPs.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Industrial design
New products
Product management
Pages: v, 164 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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