There are three main issues when trying to capture the customer’s need for a product’s emotional quality such as its aesthetics. The first is that customers have difficulty externalizing their emotional needs even if they have a clear mental image of those needs. The second is that people have different sensitivities when perceiving emotional qualities. The third is that customers have a latent sensitivity of which they are unaware. Evoking such latent sensitivity is effective when extracting the customer’s potential needs. Latent sensitivity may be evoked by shifting a fixed viewpoint for evaluating an emotional quality [1]. In this paper, we focus on the third issue, which has not been dealt with in conventional studies. The authors address the question of how to provide information that can shift the customer’s fixed viewpoint and evoke his/her latent sensitivities on a product’s emotional quality. To determine what factors are involved in such information, we conduct an experiment in which the subjects exchange and mutually evaluate their shape solutions for an emotional image and the associated viewpoints. Because people have different sensitivities, customers have different viewpoints and images toward an emotional design concept as expressed by a subjective word. We assume that different viewpoints and images may contain information that can evoke the latent sensitivity of a customer. To help the subjects to externalize their images for a given emotional concept, which is the first issue, we developed an interactive shape generation system in which the customer as non-designer can easily shape his/her image. The system generates design samples, which the user synthesizes using genetic operation. From the experiment, we observed different types of subjects and different patterns of effective viewpoints that can shift one’s fixed viewpoint.

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