An Investigation on the Importance of Design form and Function: Market Success and Consumer Preference

Open Access
Kim, Taehyun
Graduate Program:
Industrial Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • GÜL E Okudan Kremer, Thesis Advisor
  • Gul Kremer, Thesis Advisor
  • design
  • form
  • function
  • market success
  • consumer preference
The goal of product design is to obtain maximum functionality and aesthetic beauty at a minimum cost. Additionally consumers are attracted to designs that reflect their use, behaviors, and psychological responses more so than designs which simply alter the visual appearance of a product. When product functions and qualities are similar across products, customers make their purchasing decision upon aesthetic form. Form is a significant factor that improves the value of a product and gives the manufacturer a competitive advantage in business. Overall, the purpose of this study is to examine the relative importance of product form and function as design factors by investigating their impact on the market share trends of companies and consumer preferences. The study uses product characteristics for 1,028 mobile phones released between 2003 and 2008 as a case study. Multiple linear regression analysis is used to select highly correlated design factors that influence the market share, and Mallow's Cp method is used to determine the best-fitting model. The Partial Regression Coefficients are used to evaluate the relative importance of design factors. The nine mobile phone design features that affect the market share were identified, and block form style was determined as the most important design factor. During this investigation, I have utilized actual market share information, and hence refer to it as historical data mining. As a complementary analysis, I have investigated consumer preferences as future oriented data mining via a survey study. With the survey, I investigated the relationship between differences in age, race, and gender and examined how these differences affected consumer preferences regarding design factors in mobile phones. The Nominal Logistic Regression method was used to develop a predictive model that describes the relationship between predictors and responses variables. Using these approaches (historical and future oriented data mining), this study demonstrates how design investments should be directed while making critical decisions during the product development processes.