Cosmetic wear and affective responses in digital products: towards an understanding of what types of cosmetic wear cause what types of attitudinal responses from smartphone users
The manufacture of electronic consumer goods involves the consumption of a variety of materials. The outer skins of electronic goods are commonly manufactured using materials such as metal, plastic and glass. These types of materials, however, are being disposed of in landfill and are not being recycled, despite the introduction of the WEEE directive in 2012 (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (DIRECTIVE 2012/19/EU, 2012)). Calculations by the Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling (ICER), estimate that the amount of electronic products that are making their way into landfill is around 1 million tonnes a year in England alone (ICER, 2005). These skin materials and the attitudinal responses that users have when they reflect on cosmetic change, is the focus for the study that is detailed within this paper. The study is part of wider doctoral research where the aim is to identify if cosmetic changes in digital products alter replacement behaviours and product attachment. This is the first study to look at the affective material changes that occur on electronic devices and it is the first to elucidate a taxonomy of damage (TOD) which describes the variety of damage that occurs during the use phase of an electronic device. The second part of the study is an analysis of how these material changes affect the attitudinal responses of users and as such is retrospective.
Thanks to Loughborough University, Design School staff and students for their cooperation during the study and to Loughborough University for providing the funding for the PhD study which has enabled this work to be undertaken.