Environmental Impact Assessment of Functional and Visual Design Features of Smartphones

  • Tsubasa Naito
  • Nozomu MishimaEmail author


Quantitative evaluation of visual design features such as shape, color, texture, and so on is insufficient, although such features are also important for users in determining which product to buy. Enhancing product functions usually causes larger environmental impact. But, some visual design features can be modified without increasing environmental impact. Thus, focusing on visual design features might be a solution to design sustainable products. At least, favorite visual designs can be enough reasons for users to use the product for long.

Our previous study has proposed a method to quantify weights of functional and visual design features. The study focused on smartphone as a case study and extracted color, texture, thickness, and customizability as visual design features. And battery capacity was focused on to compare to the visual design features, applying pair comparison method. Then, the calculated weights of the features were integrated with the weights of functional design features including battery capacity, found in other studies. It is well-known that ICs contain metals with large environmental impact such as gold, silver, etc. And ICs are fabricated through complicated processes using large amounts of water and electricity. So, if “memory size” is not very important for users, it is not eco-efficient to focus on such function. Instead, it might be possible to design attractive and sustainable products by focusing on “customizability” which was almost equally important for users as “memory size.” This study extends the previous study and compares the environmental impact of increasing memory size versus that of increasing customizability quantitatively. Through the effort, the paper tries to discuss a way to design attractive products without increasing the environmental impact. Examining the result, the study tries to extract a strategic guideline to design eco-efficient product.


Functional design Visual design LCA Smartphone Eco-efficiency 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Engineering ScienceAkita UniversityAkitaJapan

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