Interview: People and Objects

Why do people seek for emotion from objects?

What kind of emotional relationship do they have?

And how did the emotional attachment affect one’s way of treating an object?


 

 

Thinking of the above questions, I constructed several interviews.

 

Questions to understand people’s emotional attachment to objects:

  • What is the object you use the most? How frequently? Why? Where do you keep it?
  • What is the object you enjoy using the most? Why? (In terms of structure, ways of operating, texture…)
  • What is the object you value the most? Why?
  • What is the object you love the most? Why?
  • What is the object you cherish the most? Why?
  • If the answers differs, why is it so?
  • What is the object you are the most proud of owning?
  • Do you have an interesting story related to that object that you would like to share?
  • Do you have an object that you are emotionally attached to?
  • Do you have an object that is pet-like / creature-like to you?

 

To understand how people think of  “responsive furniture”, I introduced my interviewee to Takara Tomy’s ClockChan, a clock designed to be “human like”. It speaks, tells you the time verbally, and talk about random things.

  • Takara Tomy’s ClockChan: What do you think about this product?

Takara Clock Chan

 

 


 

Results:

 

 

Participant A:

  •  use the most
    – Iphone
  • enjoy using the most
    – Iphone (Because it helps her to connect with others, and she can use social media on it)
    – Bed (Because it is comfortable)
  • value the most
    – 1st branded hand bag she bought with her own money ($2500)
    However, she said she have only been taking extra care of the handbag for the 1st month.
    Afterwards, she just does not bother to care if putting food and drinks into the bag will stain the bag or not.
  • love the most
    – Bed
    – Small cloud shaped pillow (It’s the right size and shape, and she likes to have it next to her face) Texture is not important in this case.
  • cherish the most
    – She suddenly remember of her bolster which she has since young (she can’t remember when and how did she received it). She says, if it is ever broken, she will bring it back to indonesia for her dad to fix it. Her dad is not an expert on sewing or textile, but she thinks her dad will have a solution because she trust him the most.
  • If the answers differs, why is it so?
    – The meaning of the words are different, and she was not aware of her bolster could be the answer in the earlier stage.
  • the most proud of owning
    – Bolster
  • interesting story related to that object
    – She is very used to sleeping with her bolster, therefore, when she moved to melbourne 7 years ago, she bought the bolster with her. She usually sleep, study and relax with it. She sleeps with it everyday.
  •  emotionally attached
    – Bolster
  • object that is pet-like / creature-like
    Bolster
  • ClockChan

 

Participant B:

  •  use the most
    – Bed
  • enjoy using the most
  • value the most
    – Sketchbook (gift from a friend, who encourages her to draw, and appreciate her gift on drawing)
  • love the most
  • cherish the most
  • If the answers differs, why is it so?
  • the most proud of owning
    -the apartment she is living in (it’s layout, furnishing, how it is ready for guests to come in anytime)
  • interesting story related to that object
    – She got the apartment in 14 days, and even there were many people applying, she beats them and got the offer straight away
  • emotionally attached
    – guitar, music
  • object that is pet-like / creature-like
    – robot vaccum cleaner bought by mum
  • ClockChan
    – for people who are very lonely
    – the emotional relationship built with this clock will be unhealthy
    – it is a “cheap” interaction, a “cheap” relationship

 

Participant C:

  •  use the most
    – Big  red patrick doll (she sleeps with it)
  • enjoy using the most
  • value the most
    – Canon camer (suprise birthday gift from dad)
  • love the most
  • cherish the most
  • If the answers differs, why is it so?
  • the most proud of owning
    – Bike “Wally”, it looks like wally, and has a character of getting lost
  • interesting story related to that object
    – She picked the colour combination for a day with her friends
  • emotionally attached
  • object that is pet-like / creature-like
    – Wally, it is like her buddy, always hang out with her (6 trips per week)
  • ClockChan
    – not practical

 

Participant D:

  •  use the most
    – Iphone, computer
  • enjoy using the most
  • value the most
    – Wallet from girlfriend (1st valuable branded gift)
  • love the most
  • cherish the most
    – Wallet from girlfriend
  • If the answers differs, why is it so?
  • the most proud of owning
    – New wallet he bought after his wallet from girlfriend got stolen
  • interesting story related to that object
    – He liked his new wallet since a few years ago, when he saw his friend has a older version of it. After he lost his wallet, he sort of looked around for different designs for a while, but when he came up with this new version of his friend’s wallet, he decided to buy this right away.
  • emotionally attached
    – No
  • object that is pet-like / creature-like
  • ClockChan
    – interesting, it is like a buddy which encourages you all the time. It is funny and he wants one.

 

 

 


Discoveries:

  1. I was expecting to learn how people may like or dislike some ways of operating/ using objects from the study. However, it seems most people are not very aware of how they use objects around them, and do not remember much of the corresponding user experiences. When I was asking questions related to operation of objects, I end up with answers telling me how people like and enjoys social networking on smartphones or computers. I was not able to receive any response on the “off-line” aspect.
  2. Many interviewees reckon there is some contradiction between emotional objects, practical objects and functional objects, and is hard to see all three qualities in one object.
  3. In the case of participant A, it is clear that emotional attachment will lead to a longer life span of a product (she is more than willing to fix the bolster if it is damaged). However, when treating her 1st handbag she bought with her own money, it seems the level of emotional attachment is very different (she doesn’t care if it will gets dirty or not though she values the bag a lot). The two contradicting cases shows the level of emotional attachment may be related to factors like the length of ownership, the experience one has with an object, and the first impression towards an object may relatively be less important.(She loves the bag at first glance, but do not remember what she feels when she receive the bolster)
  4. I have also realised that interviewees actually are required to have some level of creativity or imagination to feel a product as pet-like/ creature-like object. It may be challenging to discover this area by interviews. Cultural props may be a better way to continue this research.
  5. For ClockChan, people’s responses differs when they were told it is a clock produced by a Japanese company, and when it is a clock produced by a Japanese toy company. Participant A, B and C were told “it is a clock produced by a Japanese company”, and they do not have much positive comments to ClockChan, and consider it very impractical. Participant D were told “it is a clock produced by a Japanese toy company”, and he had a very positive comment of ClockChan, and is interested to buy one. The marketing position is significantly impacting consumers’ response to a product.

 

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