The current generation of high-powered graphics software offers an effective means for presenting product designs. Armed with the right tools for generating photorealistic representations of alternative designs, product development teams can obtain useful consumer input about product design attributes. However, generating computer-based models carries greater costs than producing verbal representations (written, key-word descriptions).(1) If a verbal representation can effectively communicate the relevant design and styling attributes, can product developers justify the costs associated with generating a computer-based model?
Marco Vriens, Gerard H Loosschilder, Edward Rosbergen, and Dick R. Wittink highlight a fundamental question in the choice between verbal and pictorial representations(2): Does the type of representation used affect the nature and the quality of the results that product developers obtain? Specifically, does the type of representation used in a study affect the information that the study provides about market segmentation and the relative importance of different design attributes? And does the choice of representation type affect a study's reliability and predictive accuracy?
To address these questions, the authors conducted a study with a European subsidiary of a Japanese manufacturer of car stereo equipment. The study involves the selection of product designs from those made available by the manufacturer Respondents were asked to evaluate both verbal representations and photorealistic pictorial representations of proposed car stereo designs. Half the respondents evaluated the verbal representations first, while the other half rated the pictorial representations first.
In this study, the pictorial representations produced higher relative importance ratings for two of the three design attributes, as well as somewhat greater heterogeneity (that is, segmentation) among respondents. However, the verbal representations produced greater predictive accuracy, especially for respondents who rated the verbal descriptions after they had evaluated the pictorial representations. These results suggest that the pictorial representations improved the respondents' understanding of the design attributes, while the verbal representations seem to facilitate judgment. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Journal of Product Innovation Management|
|Publication status||Published - Sep-1998|