Noisy Products: Does Appearance Matter?
Anna Fenko, Hendrik N.J. Schifferstein, Paul Hekkert


Noisiness is an important product experience that is not restricted to the auditory properties of products; bright colors and cluttered visual patterns can also be experienced as noisy. The aim of this study was to determine to what extent the overall product noisiness is attributed to the sounds that the products make and to what extent is it attributed to the visual appearance of the products. We manipulated the auditory and visual properties of alarm clocks and whistling kettles by combining noisy and quiet stimuli of the two sensory modalities according to a full factorial design. Participants in our experiment assessed the noisiness, pleasantness, and annoyance of the products. The results demonstrated that noisiness and annoyance of the products were generally dominated by the product sound, whereas contribution from visual patterns was insignificant. The noisiness of the sound had a negative influence on the overall pleasantness of the products. The results suggest that in order to create pleasurable product experience, designers need to pay more attention to the auditory properties of products.

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