Product design is an iterative process that involves, among other things, evaluation. In addition to the intended functionality of the product, its affective properties (or “Kansei”) have emerged as important evaluation criteria for the successful marketing of the product. Affective properties refer to consumers' psychological feelings about a product, and they can be mapped into perceptual design elements for possible design modification toward higher customer satisfaction. Affective properties of products in design can partially be assessed using the near photorealistic graphic rendering feature of the desktop computer-aided design tools, or rapid prototyping tools that can produce physical mock-ups. Recently, immersive virtual reality systems have been suggested as an ideal platform for affective analysis of an evolving design because of, among other things, the natural style of interaction they offer when examining the product, such as the use of direct and proprioceptive interaction, head tracking and first-person viewpoint, and multimodality. In this paper, the effects of tactile augmentation and self-body visualization on the evaluation of the affective property are investigated by comparing three types of virtual environments for evaluating the affective properties of mobile phones. Each virtual environment offers different degrees of tactile and self-body realism. The effectiveness of these virtual environments is evaluated, compared to a control condition: the affective assessment of using the real product. The experiment has shown that the virtual affective evaluation results from the three systems correlated very highly with that of the real product, and no statistically significant differences could be found among the three systems. This finding indicates that tactile augmentation and the high-fidelity self-body visualization had no effect on the evaluation of the affective property. Nevertheless, the experimental results have indicated the importance of enhanced interaction with tactile augmentation for evaluating the property of texture, and have shown that VR systems have the potential for use as affective evaluation platforms.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.