Investigating the characteristics of furniture most loved by consumers, this research presents a tool for designers to create new products that emotionally connect with people. The research undertaken explores methodologies associated with emotional design with the intention of producing a tool to enable furniture to be designed that is more attractive and emotionally connected to consumers, thus, increasing the length of ownership and reducing premature disposal. It contributes to knowledge through building on existing emotional design literature whilst filling a gap developing a tool specifically for the design of furniture. A mixed-methods approach that is both inductive and abductive has been adopted for the data collection. The research uses a cross-sectional approach gathering data from consumer surveys, interviews and multiple creative workshops. Action research was used as the underpinning methodology to enable a continuous reflection to be gained from learning and diagnosing. Two sets of primary data were collected, initially a consumer survey, completed by 275 people, and secondly 12 one-to-one semi-structured consumer interviews. A wealth of rich data has been generated, resulting in clear themes that have been used to inform the development of the first iteration of a designer tool. Results of the initial testing of the tool are presented which draw on the successes and identified weaknesses to provide opportunities for further refinement. This research offers valuable insight into the emotional connection between consumers and their furniture, and the useability of the toolkit from a designer’s perspective.
Course Director, School of Digital, Technologies & Arts, Staffordshire University, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
EMOTIONAL DESIGN, FURNITURE DESIGN, NARRATIVE, STORIES, SENSE MAKING, DESIGN TOOL