Digital product labels and the mapping of consumer values

  • Nihal Dodan'Li

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Current labels of consumer products provide some level of information to consumers but at the moment, this expanding labelling logic, and the multitude of requirements it generates, is often tricky to implement and difficult to translate into a clear and accessible form of communication for consumers to engage with.

    In the first part of the thesis, an analysis of current labels is carried out which examine a selection of widely used consumer products. This examination supports the objective to imagine the type of complementary information consumers may deem useful, and also highlights the difficulty there may be for consumers in accessing and verifying some key information that directly concerns the product they use and that may significantly influence the assessment they make of it.

    To improve the quality of the information provided to the public, a fourtiered architecture is proposed in the second section that can respond to the issues that have been identified during the analysis and also with reference to techno-sociological considerations presented in the Literature Review. The end result is an online database which generates real-time digital labels that uses collaborative logics and allows users to conveniently explore essential information about the products and services they use and make decisions more in accordance with their own requirements and values. The system also offers the possibility for the various label stakeholders to actively engage with the evolution of the product they manufacture, verify, legislate upon or consume depending on their relation to the product. In order to illustrate the potential of this architecture, the digital label is applied to informational situations commonly encountered by consumers. Conceptually, the digital label appears capable to meet consumer needs and is ready to be implemented into a prototype. The architecture is also considered against recent developments in terms of digital product labels, and appears to offer a solid foundation to catalogue, compare and analyse them critically.

    The third section of the dissertation is a reflection on the merits of the digital labelling system, this time from a sociological perspective. The discussion has two objectives (1) validating the digital label as an information arrangement capable of responding to current societal demands and (2) determining the label underlying principles in order to guide further development.
    Date of AwardJan 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJacqueline Archibald (Supervisor)


    • Information quality
    • Consumer labelling
    • Values
    • Verification
    • Context
    • Participation
    • Ethics
    • Product design

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