Co-creation produces a new method in product design evaluation
The visual design of a product plays a major role in motivating consumers to make a purchase, but no systematic evaluations have been conducted thus far to determine if product designs are communicated to consumers as intended. Mizuno has therefore challenged itself to develop a new method to evaluate the effectiveness of a product’s visual design.
In 2023, Mizuno launched the golf club series equipped with CORTECH CHAMBER, an innovative function that features improved rebound strength*1 to achieve greater drive distance*2. The mission of the product designers was to draw the golfer’s eye to the CORTECH CHAMBER area of the golf club, highlight the innovative new technology to the greatest extent possible, and entice players to try out the clubs.
*1 *2 In comparison with previous Mizuno products. Club effectiveness and satisfaction may differ per individual.
We devised a transparent resin insert design to visualize the CORTECH CHAMBER to the golfer to achieve this mission. Furthermore, we determined that the CORTECH CHAMBER should draw attention even at medium distances and decorated appropriate areas with blue transparent resin.
The ST-230 series featuring CORTECH CHAMBER technology
However, it is difficult to evaluate whether our intensions of design have been successfully conveyed to the golfer and are drawing their eye and interest, and accordingly such evaluations have only been rarely conducted. Therefore, at Mizuno, the design team and research and development team worked together to develop new methods of evaluating product design.
The design team devised and implemented an evaluation method leveraging gaze analysis technology with the research and development team to determine whether the product design was drawing the golfer’s eye to the area of the club head featuring the CORTECH CHAMBER.
They prepared alternate test golf club designs*3 together with the actual club design, and evaluated through visualization and comparison how the subject’s gaze moved across each club.
*3 For test designs, we prepared multiple patterns, such as with reduced blue area and with increased blue area on the club.
A subject in the gaze analysis test
The test demonstrated that the golf club featuring focused blue highlights in a limited area (left in the diagram below) drew the viewer’s gaze more clearly than other club designs. The heat map diagram below shows the result of comparing the design with increased blue area and the actual product design.
Gaze heat map (left: actual product design, right: test design)
Red indicates an area of viewer focus.
These tests allowed Mizuno to confirm that the design decorated the CORTECH CHAMBER with blue materials had achieved its mission of drawing the viewer’s gaze to the area, and fulfilled the product design concept of highlighting the innovative technology to the greatest extent possible.
Kensei Hirata (ELECOM) won his first tournament using ST-X230 driver featured the CORTECH CHAMBER at the 52nd “Mizuno Open – The Road to The Open Championship” held from May 25 to 28, 2023. Mizuno will continue pursuing player’s success and the development of eye-catching product designs that encourage more people to take a test swing and choose Mizuno golf clubs.
ST-230 Golf Club Series featured the CORTECH CHAMBER