Material Experience: The future of material selection for product design

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It has become more and more important to consider the future material selections in product design. The material choices influence on the user perception and hedonic experience qualities, but they affect also product qualities such as recyclability and durability. Understanding the user experience with materials can help us to design for more sustainable transformations. In this paper, we address the topic of material experiences through user research. In our research, we focus on four characteristics in the material experience: arctic, classic, expensive and cheap, and present two user studies investigating the user experience with materials in products. The first study utilized the material probes method, and included a user test in which the participants could explore and feel different materials: glass, metal, leather, plastic, concrete, and wood. The second study consisted of individual interviews of eight (8) people. As salient findings, we report that wood, glass, and leather were perceived to represent classic and arctic, whereas plastic provoked negative reactions. With plastics, an interesting contradiction was found when people still often used plastic products to describe an expensive product category.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConnectivity and Creativity in times of Conflict
Subtitle of host publicationCumulus Conference Proceedings Antwerp 2023
PublisherCumulus, the Global Association of Art and Design Education and Research
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-0149-676XX
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
MoEC publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventCumulus Antwerp 2023: Connectivity and Creativity in times of Conflict - Antwerp, Belgium
Duration: 12 Apr 202315 Apr 2023


ConferenceCumulus Antwerp 2023
Internet address


  • Design materials
  • user studies
  • user experience;
  • material probes


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