The failure rate of new products; that is; products withdrawn from the market due to lack of sales; is quoted to be in the region of 85% in the fast moving consumer goods sector. The goal of the research reported in this paper is to reduce this failure rate by enabling designers to evaluate design alternatives with respect to the likely affective responses that they will create in consumers.
Kansei Engineering; established in Japan in the 1970s is being used by companies in Japan such as Mazda and Milbon to create a car for young at heart people and trendy hair conditioning for regular salon goers respectively. More recently; a broader area of research termed Affective Engineering has begun to look beyond functionality; aesthetics; and ergonomics to create; measure and test differentiation between competing products. The identification of underlying qualities; that connect with people cognitively and/or emotionally; has become the focus of these research studies.
A key aspect of Affective Engineering lies in the creation of product concepts. This involves the identification of product concept features that influence the affective (emotional and cognitive) responses of consumers and is followed by a tailoring process to create emotional responses that align with the design intent. Two approaches are currently used to achieve this goal. Nagamachi proposes the use of Ishikawa’s ‚ÄúCause and effect diagrams‚ÄĚ within a process termed kansei category classification. These diagrams allow a design team to decompose; using a cascading method; a high level vision or design intent for a product into properties that the product should have and subsequent features that might embody such properties. This method has been applied and extended by Nagamachi with companies such as those mentioned above and found to result in innovative solutions to existing or new product opportunities. By contrast; Lai et al. Propose the use of robust design methods; this enables the identification of product properties and features through the analysis of a corpus of existing designs. Lai’s approach has been applied to a car case study and found to ‚Äúfine tune‚ÄĚ the design; so increasing the positive affect of product concepts or ‚Äúfeeling quality.‚ÄĚ
The following objectives were pursued during the course of this work; to: Explore the applicability of Affective Engineering methods to a Nestl√© product. Define the physical features of the product that most appeal to consumers. Measure the level of appeal of those features.
Generate and evaluate new design concepts that embody learning from the project.
Keywords: Kansei; Robust Design; Packaging; Case Study