How to measure product's contradictory semantics

W.-K. Hung, L. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract


When the investigation when product form semantics, researchers typically use bipolar semantic differential method of the adjectives, such as "modern-traditional", "simple complex" measure, passed by the representative of the number and average product form. However, many case studies clearly conveys the contradictory meaning if retro car delivered the traditional and modern; or as part of the study that "both typical and novel", "advanced enough but acceptable" is designed to obtain a high degree of aesthetic pleasure, these principles also imply contradictory meaning. Due to current research on how to measure product semantic contradiction is still lacking, in this study, therefore, we try to use semantic differential method "standard deviation" to filter the contradictory meaning product pictures, and ambivalent attitude measurement method developed "in direct contradiction to measure" to confirm it. The results of this study showed that with contradictory semantics of design has a large standard deviation and kurtosis is negative. "Both typical and unique" contradictions of design, often based on typical, then add other features or stories to make it unique; "both simple and complex" design, is based on a simple product structure, the use of more complex material, pattern or shape technology to make it complicated. Overall, the contradictory meaning of mode of operation, based on the classic, simple, rational, and adding other elements, so that it can present unique, complex, emotional. Significance of the foregoing results, when the product has a strong semantic contradiction, and measured by semantic differential method to the average number of feeling and not really representative of the product, but could use the standard deviation, initial screening with contradictory semantics of products. This study also found that the standard deviation for a lot of reasons, in addition to "conflicting semantics", but also includes "cognitive instead of subjects between groups", "no feeling" and so on, when this occurs, should further observe the frequency distribution graph, or the other to confirm in direct contradiction to measure in order to avoid miscalculations.


English abstract

When investigating the semantics projected by product forms, researchers often use the semantic differential method with bipolar adjectives, such as 'modern-classical' or 'simple-complex'. The image projected by a product is assumed to center somewhere in the continuum between the two opposite adjectives. However, in design practice, some design examples clearly exhibit the simultaneous use of contradictory meanings in product semantics. For example, retro cars evoke nostalgia by borrowing characteristics from classical cars, but at the same time exhibit modernness. In this research, we examined the results of applying the semantic differential method to measure contradiction in product semantics. Then, the results were verified by direct measurement method, which is developed from attitudinal ambivalence research. Our results showed that the distributions of semantic differential ratings for the stimuli with contradictory meanings have higher standard deviations. Further analysis indicated that these distributions deviate from the (symmetric) normal distribution with negative kurtosis value. In addition, we found that the 'novelty-in-typicality' chairs are likely to have prototypical shapes with additional functions or embedded stories, and that the 'simple yet complex' chairs are achieved through the use of material, texture, and complicated product forms. In general, successful embedding of contradictory meanings into product forms are based on simple, typical, and rational forms that are made to simultaneously exhibit complex, novel, and emotional images by introducing additional elements. This means that, for stimuli with contradictory meanings in product semantics, the usual implicit assumption that the image projected by a product form is centered somewhere between a pair of opposite adjectives, and that the ratings follow the normal distribution , does not hold. Large standard deviations in semantic differential ratings can be used to roughly filter out products with possible contradictory meanings. The reasons for relatively large standard deviation can result from three possible reasons, including contradiction, insensitivity, and differences between groups. Thus, a further analysis of distribution or a direct measurement method is needed to better measure the potential contradictory responses towards products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-58
JournalJournal of Design
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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Article in Chinese language!

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