When I visited the design department at the University of Sao Paulo, one of the best universities in Brazil, I found a clever and clear, visual information in a classroom. The wide classroom has four lines of bulbs on the ceiling from the front row to the back end. Although there are four bulb buttons on the wall, the way buttons are placed does not align with the way bulbs are on the ceiling. Instead of writing down “the first row, … the last row,” they match buttons and bulbs through color.
A large number of visualization tools have been created to help decision makers understand increasingly rich databases of product, customer, sales force, and other types of marketing information. This article presents a framework for thinking about how visual representations are likely to affect the decision processes or tasks that marketing managers and consumers commonly face, particularly those that involve the analysis or synthesis of substantial amounts of data. From this framework, the authors derive a set of testable propositions that serve as an agenda for further research. Although visual representations are likely to improve marketing manager efficiency, offer new insights, and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, they may also bias decisions by focusing attention on a limited set of alternatives, increasing the salience and evaluability of less diagnostic information, and encouraging inaccurate comparisons. Given this, marketing managers are advised to subject insights from visual representations to more formal analysis.
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 methods, design quality, style of processing, verbal, visual
People often use verbal signs to give instructions to others. The store owner posts a sign on the window saying, “This is a window, please use the door.” Government officers paint “Look Right” at the pedestrian crossing. However, I have observed numerous store visitors and pedestrians mistakenly push or slide the window and look left before crossing the road. In these cases, a visual signage might work better to attract their attention and guide their behavior.
University of Toronto has two interesting institutes: Martin Prosperity Institute and Best Institute. The former is an academic place for the global-scale prosperity and inequality. Its research papers discuss the creative classes and cities (Richard Florida), the integrative thinking and strategies (Roger Martin), and the global crowdsourcing for problem solving (Don Tapscott). The latter is a relatively practical space where the start-up companies focusing on health-care products and services run their offices.
While visiting them, I found there are two different ways to play with words. At the Martin Prosperity Institute, a visual art piece hangs on the wall saying PROSPERITY. At the Best Institute, a verbal notice posts on the door saying “Come to the Dark Side. We have cookies.” I find these two pieces are very creative but in different ways: the former changes the visual aspect of the word, whereas the latter changes the verbal (meaning) aspect of the word.
Jaewoo Joo | design thinking, behavioral economics, new product development, new product adoption