Furniture design : application of semantic differential techniques to measure and evaluate design and user groups' perceptions of aesthetic, form and utility through the medium of chair design

Musdi Shanat

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated abstract] A chair is a piece of furniture for sitting, a movable piece in a space that makes it fit for living and working. It is difficult to design a chair that is ideal for living because designing a chair is a problem-solving activity in which the essential principle is accommodating the consumer’s needs and preferences. A lot of furniture items on the market fall short of fulfilling and supporting the preferences and desires of consumers. This scenario happens because the product that has been designed by the designers may not speak to the consumer efficiently. Hence, a strategy and procedure needs to be initiated to support designers’ engagement with the perceptions and expectations of users as an important component of the design process.

This study explores the potential for the implementation of the semantic differential procedure as a measure of human perceptions through the medium of chair design. The semantic differential approach will be used to analyse human perception in reaction to the appearance of the chair and enhance the understanding of people’s preferences and expectations. This method is a combination of an associational and scaling procedure for measuring human attitude and perceptions towards a product, event or activity. It involves the subject’s allocation of a concept within a standard system of descriptions by means of a series of independent associative judgments. In this study, the semantic differential questionnaires were carefully designed to assess the perceptions of two subject groups, designers and users, in respect to the form, aesthetics and utility of the outdoor chair. The implications of differences and similarities in preferences, and the relationship between image-words and actual design elements for the subject group may help the designer in the control of furniture style for the intended end users. The semantic differential technique was first evolved by Charles E. Osgood and his associates (1969) from their research into measuring the meaning of the words. The respondent is asked to choose where his/her position lies, on a scale between two bipolar adjectives. Nowadays, the technique and application of the semantic differential method has broadened to include not only individual perceptions, but also the connotative meaning of the object, and people’s perceptions about objects and services.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

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