What is Kansei?
Kansei Engineering is a method for translating feelings and impressions into product parameters. The method was invented in the 1970ies by Prof. Nagamachi at Kure University (now Hiroshima International University). Prof. Nagamachi recognized that companies often want to quantify the customer’s impression of their products. Kansei Engineering can "measure" the feelings and shows the correlation to certain product properties. In consequence products can be designed in a way, which responds the intended feeling.
An example: Sports cars can be described with the adjectives like sporty, powerful, elegant. But, which parameters influence these impressions? Kansei Engineering can show to what extend, i.e. the suspension, the gear ration and the engine power, have an effect on these impressions. Moreover, target values for the mentioned product properties can be derived.
Several success stories contribute to the sound record Kansei Engineering has nowadays in Japanese companies. Mazda used Kansei Engineering in the development of its model Miyata (in Europe: MX 5). More then ten years after it’s first launch the Miyata is the best sold sports coupe in the world (The Guinness book of records, 2001). When Sharp introduced a new developed video camcorder having a LCD-display instead of a conventional ocular, they increased the market share in this segment from 3% to 24%. Even in this case Kansei Engineering identified the customer’s demands on the new product leading to the new concept. A third example showing the wide product range Kansei Engineering is dealing with is Wacaol. This underwear producing company collected Kansei data about the usage of a common Brassiere and designed based on this information a new model. Their market share topped at 42% on Japanese markets.