Consumer perceptions and concerns regarding aesthetic attributes of textile-based assistive devices: a qualitative analysis of online retail product reviews
Nartker, K., Annett-Hitchcock, K., & Hoque, S. M. A. (2022, August 31). RESEARCH JOURNAL OF TEXTILE AND APPAREL.
Purpose The purpose of this paper was to examine consumer perceptions of aesthetic attributes of textile-based assistive devices (ADs) and the language used by consumers to express those perceptions and concerns. Previous investigations of user feedback for ADs have largely focused on functional attributes rather than aesthetics. Design/methodology/approach An interpretivist research philosophy was selected to investigate the meaning behind consumer perceptions and to understand their viewpoints on the aesthetic dimensions of ADs. Using product reviews for two ADs sold on Amazon.com as data, the researchers conducted qualitative data analysis through coding and interpretation of meanings behind reviews to determine consumers’ perceptions related to their ADs. Findings The authors identified consumer concerns linking to aesthetics evidenced as a multisensory integration of visual, tactile and olfactory cues. Consumer-preferred language used to address aesthetic preferences was found to supplement the literature. Aesthetic considerations were found to be impactful on avoiding stigma and encouraging or discouraging continued use of the devices. Practical implications Findings may contribute to the development of textile-based ADs with improved aesthetics to enhance user experiences. New ways of using consumer language to interpret user needs may assist in future research and design practice for consumer products. Originality/value The use of consumer product reviews as a rich source of user data is discussed in this paper. As previous research on assistive technology has largely focused on functionality, results of this analysis offer insight into consumers’ aesthetic judgments related to ADs and bring a sensory perspective to the research area.