The unity of form and function: making sense of product design from a consumer's point of view
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This research demonstrates that the perceived unity of product form and function has a significant effect on consumers’ product evaluations, where unity refers to the perception that the form and function share common associations, or meanings. Findings from three experiments suggest that beyond the independent effects of product form and function, consumers like unified products more than they like disunified products. This effect is demonstrated in an abstract context as well as in the product contexts of consumer packaged goods and durables. In addition to demonstrating the positive effect of form-function unity on product evaluations, this research shows that this effect is mediated by the perception that unified products make more sense than disunified products. This research further shows that this effect is moderated by consumers’ involvement and product knowledge. While consumers like unified (vs. disunified) products more in general, consumers high in the combination of involvement and product knowledge like disunified products equally due to their perceived greater attribute value. These results are of significance both to academicians and practitioners concerned with understanding consumers’ responses to products.