Emotional User Experience Design of Packages

This paper considers the emotional user experience (eUX) design of packages. It explains what constitutes package eUX. The emotions connected with packages play an important role. Positive emotions and pleasant experience with packages increase the chance a product is purchased by customer. Negative emotions influenced by package can decrease business value of the product on the market. The companies should tackle such issues by looking at packaging design through eUX lens. There is a need of an approach to support package design aimed at meeting and adapting to user expectations and at creation of positive emotions. An approach for measuring and designing packages oriented to eUX improving is presented. Dimensions of package emotional user experience are defined. A checklist guiding eUX assessment and design is proposed. Relevant quantitate indices for measuring package eUX are developed. This approach generates recommendations and guidelines for eUX design of packages with the aim to provide points of reference for designers. The paper presents two case studies of food and detergent packages illustrating the approach. Research scope is identified. Further research directions are pointed out.
Autor principal: 
Alexander
Nikov
The University of the West Indies
Trinidad y Tobago
Coautores: 
Alexander
Radoslavov
Technical University of Sofia
Bulgaria

Introduction

Consumer impressions, feelings and emotions influenced by a product package are important for the decision of purchasing it or not. The design of attractive packages requires knowledge about the feelings and impressions the package evokes on the customer. Integrating of these emotive aspects in package design requires the introduction of approaches into companies’ package design processes, which can capture and convert subjective and even unconscious consumer feelings about a package into specific design elements [9], [10], [13], [20].

Contemporary studies on user experience [2], [22], [24] in package design include elements such as form, predominant and additional colour, typography, structure of the material, etc. covering features that may influence user experience with the package [8], [27]. The emotional appeal of packages [3] is often neglected as designers tend to pay more attention to issues of graphical design, typography, industrial design and usability. Therefore there is a need to seek for a suitable design approach to define design requirements based on emotional user experience (eUX) with packages. The packages should induce desirable consumer experience and emotion that influences users’ perception of the package [26].

The methodology of Kansei Engineering (KE) deals with eUX design [15], [17], [18], [31]. Kansei presents a collective semantic concept when someone gets the impression of a certain artefact from the environment or situation using his/her senses: sight, hearing, feeling, smell, taste, and their recognition. It translates consumer emotions, feelings and impressions into specific design elements of the product. KE has been successfully applied to incorporate the emotional appeal in the product design ranging from physical consumer products to interactive systems in Japan, Korea and Europe [6], [16], [21], [25], [28].

There is a lack of research on applying eUX/Kansei engineering for package design, i.e. few publications dealing with class "soft" packages, with class "hard" packages and with class “semi“ packages [34]. One of these studies in the field of food products [23] applies Kansei evaluation [17], Zaltman metaphor extraction models and theory of activity for package design class "soft". Another eUX study in the field of cosmetic industry [18] uses Kansei Type I model [17] accompanied by Partial Least Square (PLS) regression, factor analysis and varimax rotation. eUX study [14] in confectionery industry of chocolates packages Class "semi" is based on a combination of hierarchical cluster analysis, morphological analysis, Delphi method and T-evaluation method for quantitative analysis. Another eUX research in food industry of vacuum packages for rice snacks Class "soft" and two interior products [32] uses Kansei Engineering, Mood consumption theory in combination with Quality function deployment. In eUX study in glass industry [3] of alcohol bottles class "hard" Kansei Engineering Type II model is applied. eUX research in pulp and paper industry of packages class "semi" [7] uses Multiple Regression and Kansei Evaluation. It focuses on sensory impressions from different types of paper and what emotions they evoke in humans.

The aim of this paper is to present an approach measuring and designing the emotional impact of packages on the users. It tries to identify and grasp consumer affective values and translate them into specific design solutions for packages. We produced guidelines for eUX package design which are derived from Partial Least Squares Regression analysis [1]. Two case studies of emotional user experience with detergent and food packages and derived package design guidelines are presented.

Approach for eUX design of packages

The steps of the approach for eUX design of packages are presented on Figure 1.

At step 1 the design elements and their categories for specific package type are determined, e.g. design elements like form, shapes, physical dimensions, fonts, surface, structure of the material concerning the graphical appearance of the package, etc.; the categories of the design element form like rectangular, trapezoidal, polygonal, cylindrical and conical.

At step 2 Kansei word pairs describing eUX for a specific package type are selected. The emotional user experience is assessed by these Kansei word pairs using a five-point semantic differential scale, e.g. "Beautiful ß5-4-3-2-1àUgly" (cf. Fig. 2). The average numerical value (3) reflects the neutral user view.

At step 3 the visual eUX is assessed by a checklist, e.g. [19], [21] including the design elements and Kansei word pairs (cf. Fig. 3) defined at steps 1 and 2. Study participants give an assessment of their package experience in terms of visual impression.

At step 4 study participants identify by package touch/use the corresponding categories (values) of the design elements according to his or her personal opinion. They give also their assessment of their experience in terms of impressions from Kansei-word pairs after package touch and use, e.g. “Like-Dislike” [8], [12].

Three sets of data are obtained at steps 3 and 4:

  • 1. Independent binary variables X include categories of the design elements.
  • 2. Dependent ordinal variables Y include the sets of emotive responses by participants.
  • 3. Sample of n packages

Figure 1. Approach steps.

Five point scale of perception based on Kansei word pairs – antonyms

Objective: Improve the package according to user’s emotions of visual impression

Figure 2. Example of visual eUX assessment using two Kansei words.

At step 5 Partial Least Squares (PLS) regression analysis [1] has been identified to be most suitable to handle large number of independent variables X and dependent variables Y. It is performed to discover relations between dependent variables Y (Kansei word pairs) and independent variables X (design elements). This analysis is also used to identify the influence of design elements in each Kansei and best fit value for each design element.

All three data sets were used for performing PLS regression analysis and obtaining standardized regression coefficients for all categories of design elements. Ranges are calculated using the difference between maximum and minimum categories coefficient values of one design element (cf. Fig. 3). Mean of ranges is calculated. If the range of a design element is larger than the mean, the item is considered to have good influence to package design. As a result, range for every design element having value larger than the mean implies the best fit group which highly influence eUX in package design. The indices: visual UX index, touch/use UX index, visual/touch/use index and design element index provide quantitative measurements of eUX.

Figure 3. Fragment of eUX assessment model.

At step 6 based on results of from PLS regression analysis relevant package design recommendations and guidelines are defined.

Case Studies

To illustrate the approach proposed for eUX design of packages the following two case studies are presented.

Case study: eUX design of detergent packages

70 undergraduate students from Technical University of Sofia participated in our case study. 11 detergent packages (cf. Table 1) were given to all participants in a systematic and controlled way. Participants were asked to rate their feelings into approach checklist [19], [30].

Table 1. Eleven detergent packages used for the case study.

Pack 1

Pack 2

Pack 3

Pack 4

Pack 5

Pack 6

Pack 7

Pack 8

Pack 9

Pack 10

Pack 11

Three sets of data were obtained from the case study:

  1. Independent binary variables X include 73 categories of 23 design elements,
  • 2. Dependent ordinal variables Y include 21 sets of emotive responses by 70 participants,
  • 3. Sample of 11 detergent packages.

All three data sets were used for PLS regression analysis and obtaining standardized regression coefficients for all 73 categories of 23 design elements. Ranges and mean of ranges were calculated. On Table 2 a segment of design elements and their ranges are shown. The first 5 design elements with highest range values above the mean (0.0981) are: Form (0.3782), Value Image (0.1819), Place Trade Name Logo (0.1623), Size Logo (0.1502) and Style Letter Trade Name (0.1346). They are the most important design elements with highest positive eUX with the studied detergent packages. The column ‘Good Design’ lists design elements categories, which imply best fit value to package eUX. The column ‘Bad Design’ lists design element categories, which imply most unfit value to package eUX. For example strong positive eUX for the category of the design element "Form" is considered the rectangle and strong negative eUX the respondents have with trapezoidal form.

Table 2. Most significant design elements of detergent packages ranked according to mixed (visual and tactile) eUX.

Design elements

Range

Good design

Bad design

Form

0.3782

Rectangle

Trapezoid

Value Image

0.1819

Light

Neutral

Place Trade Name Logo

0.1623

Below

Bottom Right

Size Logo

0.1502

Small

Large

Style Letter Trade Name

0.1346

Lowercase

Capitalized Each Word

The results of PLS regression analysis show that the 5 most significant design elements and their categories recommended for eUX design of packages are (cf. Table 3):

1) Form → (0.38) - rectangular,

2) Value of image → (0.18) – light,

3) Position of the trade name → (0.16) – Below,

4) Size Logo → (0.15) – Small,

5) Style Letter Trade Name → (0.13) – Lowercase.

From Table 3 can be defined recommendations and guidelines for eUX-oriented package design of detergent packages class "semi" [4]. They can serve as a basis for the introduction of best eUX-oriented practices in design of detergent packages.

Table 3. Segment of design guidelines including best fit design elements and their recommended categories with positive eUX for detergent package.

Applying eUX design guidelines an optimal detergent package was designed and created (see Fig. 4).

Figure 4. Optimal detergent package implementing eUX design guidelines.

Case study: eUX design of food packages

11 food packages of dairy products (cf. Table 4) were assessed by 69 undergraduate students of Technical University of Sofia and analysed applying the approach checklist [21]. In this study participants gave their assessment of their package experience in terms of impressions of 23 design elements into categories and Kansei word pairs after visual impression and touch/use of 11 food packages.

Table 4. Eleven food packages used for the case study.


Pack 1

Pack 2

Pack 3

Pack 4

Pack 5

Pack 6

Pack 7

Pack 8

Pack 9

Pack 10

Pack 11

Three sets of data were obtained from the case study:

  1. Independent binary variables X include 77 categories of 23 design elements,
  • 2. Dependent ordinal variables Y include 19 sets of emotive responses by 69 participants,
  • 3. Sample of 11 food packages.

PLS regression analysis was applied for obtaining standardized regression coefficients for all 77 categories of 23 design elements. Ranges and means of ranges were calculated. On Table 5 a segment of design elements and their ranges are shown. The top 5 design elements with range values above the mean (0.1057) are: Predominant colour (0.5922), Form (0.1871), Additionality colour (0.1735), Trade name Optical value (0.1662) and Commercial Place Trade-Name / Logo (0.1545). They are the most important design elements with highest positive eUX with the studied food packages. The column ‘Good Design’ lists design elements categories, which implies best fit values to package eUX. Column ‘Bad Design’ lists design element categories, which imply most unfit values to package eUX. For example strong positive eUX for the category of the design element "Predominant color" is considered the green color and strong negative eUX the respondents have with red color.

Table 5. Most significant design elements of food packages ranked according to mixed (visual and tactile) user experience. Recommended categories of design elements.

Design elements

Range

Good design

Bad design

Predominant Color

0.5922

Green

Red

Form

0.1871

Trapezoid

Polygon

Additional Color

0.1735

Contrast

Neutral

Trade Name Opt. value

0.1662

Bold

Light

Place Trade Name/Logo

0.1571

Above

Bottom Left

The results of approach analysis show that the 5 most significant design elements and their categories recommended for positive eUX with food packages are (cf. Table 5):

1) Predominant Colour → (0.59) - Green,

2) Form → (0.19) – Trapezoid,

3) Additional Colour → (0.17) – Contrast,

4) Trade Name Opt. value → (0.17) – Bold,

5) Place Trade Name/Logo → (0.16) – Bold.

The packages with eUX values above the mean (3.52) are show in descending order (cf. Table 6). From Table 6 we can deduce summarized recommendations for Kansei packaging design for food packages class "semi" [4]. They can serve as a basis for the introduction of best practices in the design of food packages.

Table 6. Segment of design guidelines including best fit design elements and their recommended categories with positive eUX for food package.

Optimal food package inspires strong positive eUX with optimal values of design elements. It was designed and created by applying approach guidelines (see Fig. 5).

Figure 5. Optimal package implementing eUX design guidelines.

Conclusions

The emotions connected with packages play an important role. Positive emotions and pleasant experience with packages increase the chance a product is purchased by customer. Negative emotions influenced by package can decrease business value of the product on the market. The companies should tackle such issues by looking at packaging design through eUX lens. An approach for emotional user experience design of packages is proposed. It explains what constitutes package eUX. It is aimed at meeting and adapting to user expectations and at creation of positive emotions. The approach is oriented to eUX improving. Dimensions of package emotional user experience are defined. A checklist guiding eUX assessment and design of packages is proposed. This approach generates recommendations and guidelines for eUX design of packages with the aim to provide points of reference for designers.

The advantages of approach proposed are:

(1) applies multivariate mathematical model for quantitative eUX assessment; (2) provides guidelines for eUX design of packages considering not only positive eUX (good design), but also negative eUX (bad design)

Two case studies with food and detergent packages illustrate the approach. In the first case study a checklist [19] with 23 design elements and 21 Kansei word pairs was used. Data from 70 users of 11 detergent packages were gathered. A multivariate model based on partial least squares regression was created and used for data analysis. The PLS regression analysis: (1) discovered links between package design elements [19] and package eUX; (2) translated eUX responses to the underlying design elements and (3) revealed the influence of design elements towards the design of detergent packages. These results were used to formulate guidelines for emotional user experience design of detergent packages. Based on these guidelines an optimal detergent package was designed and created. The second case study was oriented to eUX assessment and design of food packages. Based on study results eUX design guidelines were proposed. Using these guidelines optimal food package was created. The present study may not produce globally applicable design guidelines, but they present the first step in this research direction.

Further research based on other models like analytic hierarchy process [27], rough sets [29] is recommended. Research applying different metrics for measuring emotional UX with packages, e.g. physiological measures like EEG, gestural, verbal, or more specialized metrics such as eye-tracking [5] and clickstream data acquired from wearable sensors [24], [2], [5], [22], Product Emotion Measurement Instrument PrEmo [11] are advised.

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