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Peiyao Cheng

Peiyao Cheng is a PhD candidate in School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Born in Xi’an, China, she received her Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Design from Northwestern Polytechnic University, Xi’an. She earned her Master of Science from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Netherlands, specialized in Strategic Product Design. During the Master study, she explored her interests in design research. After graduation, she came to Hong Kong and worked as research associate in School of Design for a consultancy project for Huawei Device. Co. Ltd. In August 2014, she joined School of Design as a PhD student. Her research focuses on the influence of product appearance on consumer response to innovation.

Research Title
Appearance and Innovation Adoption: An Investigation into the Role of Visual Complexity in Consumers' Responses to Innovations

Prof. Cees de Bont (Chief Supervisor)
Dr. Ruth Mugge (External Co-supervisor, TU Delft)

About the Research
The contribution of innovations to companies’ performances has been widely acknowledged. Companies are eager to invest in innovations to gain a competitive edge. However, launching innovative products is unpredictable and risky. Without a suitable innovation strategy, companies are vulnerable when launching innovative products. There is a perception gap between how consumers and managers perceive the innovations. In order to help companies’ decisions concerning with their innovation strategies, this project aims to understand consumers’ responses to innovations and thereby provide practical suggestions from the consumers’ perspective. Because consumers will draw the first impression of product innovations through their appearances, which will further influence the diffusion process of innovations, it is necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms of how appearances of innovative products influence consumers’ evaluations. Specifically, this PhD project aims to investigate how innovative product appearances affect consumers’ evaluation of these innovative products.

To do so, this PhD project will firstly investigate possible effects of product appearances on consumers’ evaluations of innovative products from two perspectives: 1) consumers’ aesthetic responds and 2) consumers’ understanding of innovative products. Additionally, considering the adoption of design languages is also influenced by brand image, the combined effects of brand and appearances of innovative products will be examined. Furthermore, since the innovation outcomes are not limited to products, it could also be take other forms, such as services. The effects will also be examined in the context of services.

The results can contribute to current studies of consumers’ evaluations of innovative products by considering the effect of product appearances and the influence of brand image. Generalizing the effects in the service context also make contributions to understand how consumers evaluate services. In practice, these results can provide practical guidelines for designers to design a proper appearance for innovative products. For managers, these rationales can become basis for them to make decisions when launching innovative products.