An Application of Implementing a Cognitive Structure Model to Obtain Consensus from Consumers
Ming-Hsuan Hsieh, Cheng-Yong Huang, Ding-Bang Luh, Shuo-Fang Liu, Chia-Hsiang Ma
Consumer-oriented design has become a key element in a successful product development process. However, since consumers have constantly changing needs, their cognition toward a product is abstract and unclear, and designers do not have a method to effectively incorporate consumers’ opinions during the design process. Designers and consumers have cognitive differences when it comes to the ‘meaning’ of a product. The main purpose of this study is to develop a cognitive structure model in order to understand the differences and similarities between designers and consumers’ cognitions, and furthermore to help designers obtain consensus with consumers on the meaning of a product. The first step in the procedure is to use mind mapping to present designers’ cognition, and then an implication matrix to conduct research on consumers’ cognition. Four areas (positive consensus, negative consensus, designer’s subjectivity, and consumers’ subjectivity) are defined based on the cognitive similarities and differences of designers and consumers. Finally, a streamlined hierarchical value map is used to present design guidelines. Through the case study on “beach toys design” and its process of developing design guidelines, it is proved that this cognitive structure model is operational and practical. Consequently, this model effectively enables designers and consumers to reach a common ground on product cognitions.
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