Seeing is believing

investigating the influence of transparency on consumers’ product perceptions and attitude

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Abstract

Transparency is a design characteristic enabling consumers to see the technical details underneath the product cover to create a unique visual effect. However, involving transparency in product design increases costs; it is thus essential to investigate the effects of transparency to help designers and manufacturers to determine the cost-effect ratio. To address this gap, this study investigates the effects of transparency on consumer attitude and their perceptions of experience and credence attributes (i.e. technological advancement, performance quality, ease of use). Through a controlled experimental design (N = 126), this study compared consumer responses between products with transparent and opaque covers in two product categories. The results revealed that products with transparent covers significantly improve consumers’ perceptions of technological advancement and performance quality, and attitude in comparison to opaque covers. Results also revealed that the effects of transparency differ between consumers depending on their design acumen. The effects of transparency on consumers’ perceptions and attitude are stronger for consumers with high design acumen. The practical implications and theoretical contributions of the study are discussed.