How People’s Appreciation of Products Is Affected by Their Knowledge of the Designers’ Intentions
Odette da Silva, Nathan Crilly, Paul Hekkert


Products result from processes that are guided by designers’ intentions for what the products should be, what they should be like and what they should do. People might infer these intentions more or less accurately from the products’ form, or they might learn about them from a variety of sources such as advertisements and other marketing materials. Whether inferred or learned, knowledge of design intentions might influence the way in which people regard and appreciate products. Despite this possible influence, design research has not empirically addressed the questions of whether intention knowledge affects product appreciation and, if so, how. We investigated these questions by conducting two studies using a mixed-methods approach. Study 1 provided experimental evidence that intention knowledge has an effect on product appreciation. Study 2 explained this effect with interview data showing that intention knowledge affects product appreciation in three ways: it influences the perception of the product, enables an evaluation of the intention and also an evaluation of the product as a means to fulfill the intention. These findings are relevant to design research and practice in providing the grounds for a deeper understanding of the role that intention knowledge plays in product appreciation.

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