Verbal communication of semantic content in products

Torben Lenau, Per Boelskifte


The purpose of the present research work is to explore how precise verbal communication can capture the semantic content of physical products. The article presents an overview of the background and work done so far. Furthermore are ideas for future work discussed. The background includes the increasing need to communicate soft qualities in all stages of complex design processes. Research carried out so far includes 3 investigations with a combination of questionnaires and an experiment where product search was carried out based on verbal communication alone. Preliminary results indicate that there exists a mutual understanding of many of the terms describing the qualities and properties and that good verbal communication of sensory and perceived product qualities are possible. However a number of the selected terms seem to have several interpretations causing ambiguous information. We suggest more emphasis in design education on training precise verbal communication concerning semantic contents in products.

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