Emotion and function: rethinking display and shelving

Leong, Kong Pei
Leong, Yap
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Master of Art and Design
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Auckland University of Technology

A product can embrace emotional qualities as well as functional qualities. Emotional qualities include fun, beauty, delight, surprise and any pleasure of the senses, such as sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste. In the literature of the past decade considerable emphasis has been placed on the less tangible emotional attributes a product conveys. Designing to satisfy human emotion has become one of the main design considerations for today's society. A product should not be designed to satisfy only the functional needs of the users but must also satisfy their psychological and emotional needs. This project is focused on exploring empathic design to develop an emotional display system to fulfil users' desires, aspirations and provide pleasurable experiences. Empathic design is an experience and emotion driven design that aims to enrich users' lifestyles, pride and pleasure, and adds value to the product. Five prototypes were evaluated through a questionnaire survey, focus groups and interviews regarding their emotional and functional qualities. While the resultant findings were not entirely conclusive, the evaluations have clearly indicated that the emotional qualities of a product are of significance to the users. Emotional qualities add pleasure and value to a product. Using these findings as design criteria, the designer proposes a series of new conceptual designs that are more empathic to the users' emotional needs.

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