Category Archives: Publications

How did Samsung designers overcome an unofficial heuristic?

Hwang, S., Park, H., Oh, K., Hwang, S., & Joo, J. (2021). Rethinking a Designers’ Rule of Thumb: Influence of Information Seeking and Consumption Goals on Mobile Commerce Interface Design. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research, 16 (5), 1631–1647.

Abstract: We investigated whether adding product information in mobile commerce improved consumers’ attitudes toward a product and whether this relationship was moderated by consumption goals. We conducted two field experiments in which we recruited parents in Korea and the USA and asked them how they evaluated two childcare hybrid products (HPs) newly developed by Samsung Electronics designers. The results revealed that participants exposed to additional information about the HPs evaluated them more favorably than those who were not exposed. However, this relationship disappeared when a consumption goal was activated. Our findings establish a dynamic relationship between information seeking and consumption goals, asking designers to rethink their rule of thumb in the mobile commerce context.

Keywords: information seeking; consumption goal; hybrid product; Samsung Electronics; mobile commerce

Online recommendation of ethical product penalizes unethical product

Yoon, Y., Fu, Y., & Joo, J. (2021). Unintended CSR Violation Informed by Online Recommendation. Sustainability, 13(7), 4053.

Abstract: This paper investigates whether online recommendation of products that exhibit corporate social responsibility (CSR) penalizes the purchase intention of non-CSR products. When consumers browse online retail stores and consider buying a particular product, online recommendation is made (e.g., “Customers who viewed this item also viewed”). This recommendation is often made between products of which attributes have a trade-off relationship (e.g., CSR vs. price). (A trade-off is where one thing increases, and another must decrease. A trade-off relationship between CSR and price suggests a pair of competing products are available: a more expensive, CSR product and an economical, non-CSR product.) We borrowed from the psychological literature of evaluability to hypothesize that when a CSR product is recommended, consumers would decrease their purchase intention of the economical product. However, when an economical product is recommended, consumers would maintain their purchase intention of the CSR product. We further hypothesized that this asymmetric effect would disappear when reinforcement information regarding the CSR is provided. Two carefully designed experiments conducted in China supported these hypotheses. Our findings contribute to the growing literature on online retailers by elucidating the psychological impact of online recommendations, which may influence manufacturers’ sales in an unexpected manner. The findings also indicate that online recommendations could be a potential source of channel conflict. While this study newly verifies the unintended CSR violation effect of online recommendations, future studies are required to expand our understanding of the CSR violation effect by investigating the effect under the trade-off relationship with other attributes of the product.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; economical; evaluability; online recommendation

Who buys good products? And why?

Yoon, Y., Chastagner, K., & Joo, J. (2020). Inner-Self vs . Outer-Self and Socially Responsible Product Consumption. Sustainability, 12(22), 9362.

Abstract: This paper investigates how two fundamental consumer characteristics, self-esteem (inner-self) and status seeking (outer-self), influence consumers’ purchasing behaviors of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) products via two mediating effects: brand image and self-enhancement. In particular, we analyze these effects in two different CSR domains: environmental and social. By doing so, we are able to verify the underlying mechanisms of how different types of consumers respond to various CSR promotions. We propose a distinctive CSR consumption model incorporating both inner-self and outer-self components. We collected data from two countries, the US and China, using two commonly used online survey platforms: Amazon M-Turk and Loop Information Technology. Using structural equation modeling, our analysis in the environmental domain revealed that both inner-self and outer-self components play a significant role in consumers’ desire to purchase CSR products. Additionally, this process is mediated by the brand image of the firm and the tendency to enhance self-value. Interestingly, we found that in the social domain, self-enhancement mediated consumer characteristics and purchasing behavior of CSR product, whereas brand image did not. This indicates that environmental CSR activities increase brand value and its impact on purchase intention, while social CSR activities do not. Additionally, we found similar patterns for both US and Chinese consumers.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; self-esteem; status seeking; brand image; self-enhancement; US; China

Are Consumer Design Evaluations Trustworthy?

Background Designers often consider consumer design evaluations. However, whether consumer design evaluations are trustworthy has been rarely discussed. We propose that consumers equate the concept of design with the concept of uniqueness, which suggests that their design valuations are context dependent and unstable.

Methods We test our proposition by conducting one pilot study and three main studies. The pilot study examines which criteria consumers consider when evaluating a design. The three main studies test whether consumer design evaluations depend on the situation and unique products.

Results The results of the pilot study and three main studies demonstrate that subjects evaluated design using aesthetic and functional attributes and their design evaluations were based on the attributes that are not popular in a specific situation.

Conclusions This study contributes to the academic discussion of whether consumer design evaluations are stable. Our findings demonstrate that consumers construct design evaluations on the spot. Therefore, designers who have accumulated professional experience and knowledge, are recommended to follow their own design evaluations rather than the voice of customers.

Apply behavioral economics to sell design more


Background People often choose between two competing options: option A (aesthetically superior but functionally inferior) and option F (functionally superior but aesthetically inferior). We hypothesize that people like option A more when it is presented with option F (joint evaluation) than when presented alone (separate evaluation) because people find aesthetic attributes are hard to evaluate. We further hypothesize that this effect holds neither for option F nor among experts.

Methods We briefly reviewed two cases in the Korean automobile industry and then conducted two experiments in China. In the first experiment, we compared preferences about two USB drivers between two evaluation modes. In the second experiments, we compared preferences about two basketball shoes in the joint evaluation between novices and experts.

Results We found from the first experiment that participants increased their preferences for option A in the joint evaluation compared to the separate evaluation. Their preferences for option F did not differ between the two evaluation modes. In the second experiment, only novices preferred option A over option F in the joint evaluation. Experts did not prefer option A over option F.

Conclusions Our findings contribute to the scholarly discussions about form and function. They also provide practical implications to designers and marketers who need to sell aesthetically pleasing products. This work goes beyond design marketing interface to add evaluation mode as an intervention to nudge people to choose aesthetically pleasing products, which has been barely discussed in behavioral economics.


AestheticBehavioral EconomicsFunctionInterventionKnowledgeMarketingNudge


Why is it so hard to apply Design Thinking to Korean Companies?

Joo, J., Lee, A. J., & Park, J. H. (2018). A New Framework of Design Management and Three Additional Requirements To Apply Design Management to Korean Companies: Experience Design, Collaboration, and Trial and Error. Design Convergence Study, 17(6), 145–165.

The present research has two objectives. First, we introduce a new framework of design management proposed by Heather Fraser, the Director of Rotman Designworks. It comprises three gears: (1) user understanding, (2) concept visualization, and (3) strategic business design. Second, we investigate the key requirements that are necessary to apply the new framework to Korean companies. We collected fifty reports about the five special lectures from a new product development course at a university in Korea. These lectures were given by three designers and two product managers. We used interpretative analysis and followed three process of qualitative analysis of transcription, coding, and theme discovery. We derived specific requirements for applying design management to Korean companies: (1) experience design, (2) collaboration, and (3) trial and error. We introduced a novel design management framework and clarified the requirements how to successfully apply it to Korean companies. These findings imply that, firstly, executives and practitioners need to improve mutual communication and, secondly, corporations and agencies respect each other in their partner relationships.

Collaboration, Design Management, Design Thinking, Experience Design, Trial and Error

“In sum, our review of the past research on design management shows various approaches introducing design into chronological business management and supporting successful business cases. However, it focuses design management in the strategic stage; it does not provide specific assistance with practitioners who are interested in applying design management in their tasks. Therefore, we introduce a model for practitioners to undertake management planning efficiently” (pg. 150)

“…we should accept the meaning of designing the customer experience, which includes the company’s identity, rather than emphasizing the product’s design-centered simple styling. … respect is required in partner relationship of corporations and agencies. In order to activate design management, the corporation’s interior decision-making and organization structure should change” (pg. 162)

Designworks written by Heather Fraser

Do people like phone cases with famous paintings?




Background: As the quality of life improves, people’s interest in art increases and their emotional satisfaction becomes important. Companies often apply artwork to their product packages with the aim of satisfying people’s emotions and enhancing their brand value. However, they tend to apply well-known artwork without considering the characteristics of their target consumers. Therefore, this study aims to understand whether people’s preferences for artwork influence their attitudes toward art-infused products.

Methods: We examined whether people’s attitudes toward art-infused products are influenced by their preferences for and the market exposure of artwork. We conducted a study by recruiting 380 undergraduate students in Korea. In the study, we used 6 artworks carefully selected from textbooks and 6 art-infused hypothetical mobile phone cases accordingly.

Results: Our study revealed two findings. First, people’s attitudes toward art-infused products increased as their preferences for the artwork increased (hypothesis 1). Second, the effect of people’s art preferences on their attitudes toward art-infused products was greater when the artwork was less exposed to the market than when it was highly exposed (hypothesis 2).

Conclusions: The results of this study show that when an artwork is selected for product packaging, people’s preferences for the artwork and its market exposure should be considered, suggesting that selecting a well-known artwork is not always the best option. In sum, this study contributes to the academic discussion on mere exposure effect and art marketing, and it provides insights for designers who aim to apply artwork to differentiate their products.


Art PreferenceMarket ExposureAttitude Toward Art-infused ProductArt InfusionMere Exposure


IDEO method cards do not benefit visual designers



Although a wide variety of design methods are used, two questions have been little investigated: whether using many methods improves the outcome quality and who benefits more from using them. We conducted a quasi-experiment in a classroom employing a 2 (Design Method: More vs. Fewer) x 2 (Style of Processing: Verbalizer vs. Visualizer) between-subjects design. We obtained two findings from the data. First, the students using more design methods generated better outcomes than those using fewer design method. Secondly, verbal-oriented students generated better outcomes than visual-oriented students. Our obtained two findings will be discussed in the context of design process.


Design methodsdesign qualitystyle of processingverbalvisual



Empathy instruction backfires designers




Background: Empathy instruction (“please empathize with the person in the narrative”) is often provided when new product concepts are evaluated in a narrative form. However, concept evaluators tend to empathize with users differently; non-designers empathize with them insufficiently whereas designers do so sufficiently. Therefore, we expect that the effect of empathy instruction on concept evaluation will differ depending on the design expertise of individual evaluators. Empathy instruction will benefit non-designers whereas it may not benefit designers. We hypothesize that non-designers evaluate a concept more positively while designers evaluate the same concept more negatively when empathy instruction is provided than when it is not.

Methods: We conducted two studies with 74 practitioners (study 1) and 87 undergraduate students (study 2) by asking participants to evaluate a new service concept for long-distance communication. Half of the participants were provided with empathy instruction (“please watch a video clip about a long-distance couple”) and the other half were provided with control instruction (“please watch a video clip about nature). Then, we compared the concept evaluation scores between the two groups.



Results: The two studies showed that when the participants received control instruction, their concept evaluation scores between two groups did not differ. However, when they received empathy instruction, non-designers’ concept evaluation scores increased whereas designers’ concept evaluation scores decreased.

Conclusion: Our findings highlight the dark side of empathy in concept evaluation. When empathy instruction is provided for narrative concept evaluation, it needs to be used carefully depending on the individual concept evaluators. More discussions are needed for customized empathy.



Concept evaluation, design expertise, empathy instructon, narrative concept, new product development



Does a Persona Improve Creativity?


Inclusion of Other in the Self (IOS) scale (Aron et al., 1992)



The purpose of this study was to test whether the priming of a brainstorming task by a persona increases ideational fluency and originality, i.e. the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of creative performance. We conducted a preliminary (n = 18) and final (n = 32) experiment with international students of business. These experiments revealed that priming of brainstorming by a persona increases originality of ideas by a large effect size (Cohen’s d = .91, p = .02), and not significantly ideational fluency by a medium effect size (Cohen’s d = .33, p = .39). As an alternative explanation to empathy, the found creativity effect may be attributed to priming that retrieves related memory items and thereby facilitates idea generation. As practical implications, design thinking practitioners can expect more original ideas and overcome design fixation if they brainstorm on a persona which is modelled in a concise and consistent way that caters to understanding the user need.


empathy, persona, creativity, originality, ideational fluency, brainstorming, brainwriting, design methodology, design thinking, design research