ICoRD'13 pp 317-329 | Cite as

Extracting Product Characters Which Communicate Eco-Efficiency: Application of Product Semantics to Design Intrinsic Features of Eco-Efficient Home Appliances

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)

Abstract

So far the development of Eco-efficiency in home appliances has only concentrated on their technological attributes, overlooking the communication of Eco-efficient qualities through the aesthetical appearance of such appliances i.e. a meaning to be transmitted to the user. Technical attributes are communicated through extrinsic features i.e. labelling, branding, packing [1]. These are considered as semiotic content (not concerned with semantics) and give information regarding the product independent of meaning, and as such have no direct relation to the product appearance or character [2]. This paper will explain the application of product semantic theory to re-design the product characters of home appliances which communicate their Eco-efficient qualities through their intrinsic features within a non-instrumental product experience. The final output will be a set of design guidelines consisting of 6 product characters—Futuristic, Feminine, Unconventional, Practical, Simple, Smart—which appliance designers can apply. Product characters are adjectival constructs or visual metaphors [3, 4]. Design theorists have pointed out that companies which are able to communicate a specific meaning (such as Eco-efficiency) through their product appearance can achieve a competitive market advantage [5]. Athavankar [6] cited product semantics as having amongst others 2 core goals, (1) Improving user-product interaction. (2) Demystifying complex technologies. The intention of semantics as a design theory was to apply linguistic theories into a design process to develop `readable’ or `self-evident’ products through easy to apply methods [7].

Keywords

Product characters Eco-efficiency Home appliances 

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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politecnico Di MilanoMilanItaly

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