Examining Hazard-Related Perceptions of Virtual Household Package Prototypes

Open Access
Article
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Hande AyanoğluaEmília Duarte cPaulo Noriega abJúlia Teles deFrancisco Rebeloab

Abstract: Many household products have “hidden hazards”. Also, because of package similarity, people may have difficulty distinguishing chemicals from consumable goods. The incorrect identification of a hazard can result in injuries. Many efforts have been done to improve package warnings, but little is known about the extent that the package’s shape can be used to communicate, in an implicit manner, safety-related messages. This study examined the effect of package’s shape on hazard-related perceptions (i.e., hazardousness and awareness of consequences). Participants observed eight virtual package prototypes of household products grouped into four sets according to their original content’s hazard (i.e., nonhazardous vs. hazardous) and familiarity (i.e., familiar vs. unfamiliar). An uncluttered virtual environment was used to display and interact with the prototypes. Results for familiar and unfamiliar packages differed. For familiar cases, hazardous packages were rated as significantly more hazardous and attained higher awareness of consequence than the nonhazardous ones. For unfamiliar cases, no statistically significant differences were found between hazardous and nonhazardous packages. The implications are two-fold. First, the results suggest people can perceive hazard from the package’ shape, but their perceptions are affected by familiarity. Second, the results suggest the simulator based methodology is feasible for this type of study.

Keywords: Package Design, Safety, Hazard Perception, Virtual Prototypes, Virtual Environment

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe100807

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