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anthropomorphism and design

Rule #2: Different People Anthropomorphize Differently

For past entries and an introduction to the 11 Golden Rules of Anthropomorphism and Design, click here. 

What people experience as anthropomorphic is highly personal. Tests have shown that when given a selection of products with anthropomorphic characteristics, people differ greatly in how human-like they perceive the objects to be. Even if an anthropomorphic product fits the cultural, social and ethical norms of a society, it’s still possible some people just won’t like it because they experience it differently.

A computer with a glowing round button is a fairly generic design. But to those who’ve seen Stanley Kubricks’ 2001: A Space Odyssey there’s an unavoidable association with murderous hardware. Would you trust the unblinking blue eye of a Lacie hard drive?