Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering


Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Richard T. Stone


Users are expected to interact with their packages through product life cycles with either good or bad experiences, depending on packaging design, which can be characterized by physical and verbal features, such as size, shape, symbols, picture, etc. User packaging interaction (UPI) field has evolved with the aim to provide user-friendly packages, which support performing tasks such as, opening, handling, disposing, and checking-out. A great deal of work addressing issues, related to packaging, and suggesting potential improvements has been directed toward UPI. However, this work is not easily accessible to researchers as it lacks a cohesive structure of UPI stages. Developing an efficient packaging design, which augments UPI, requires continuous evaluation and improvement considering UPI stages. In this dissertation, we consider the UPI field as a system of users who interact with packages and other components at different stages, and integrate concepts of human factors and systems engineering to improve this interaction.

In the first study, an effort is directed to organize the field of UPI, in order to facilitate a proper and inclusive understanding of this field. The current research structure is organized based on stages of interaction, with insights into the related packaging features. This organization results in the enumeration of the following stages: at point of purchase, checking out, handling, opening, and disposal. The review process has revealed different issues in the current research structure of UPI including the comprehensibility of the conducted research and the distribution of the reviewed articles.

In the second study, a stage of interaction was targeted for improvement while considering the involved packaging features. The implications of the Universal Product Code (UPC) placement and the scanning technology in use have been studied with a focus on scanning process at the checkout stage. This study has approved the effect of UPC placement and scanning technology on self-checkers. The results showed that total scanning time was significantly reduced when using bi-optic scanner F(1, 28) = 20.9, p < 0.01, p2= 0.43. The recommended UPC placement led to a significant improvement on UPCs anticipation for both scanning technologies F(1, 28)= 16.8, p < 0.01, p2= 0.38. Additionally, exposure to non-neutral trunk posture(s) were shown to be significantly decreased in the bi-optic condition F(1, 24)= 10.4, p < 0.01, p2= 0.30. Understanding the tasks performed at a UPI stage with the involved packaging features can lead to a substantial operational and ergonomic improvements.

In the third study, an affordance-based multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) model is also proposed to help designers simultaneously consider multi-UPI stages and packaging perspectives. The model is built based on the fact that affordances provided by packages can facilitate the interaction between users and packages. Affordance properties, elicited from user’s requirements, were utilized to evaluate packaging affordances at stages of UPI. The outcomes of the model are validated by a usability testing study with results supporting the ability of the model to distinguish between packages with different overall affordance levels.

Finally, a design for affordances framework is introduced to map users' requirements to packaging features, in such these requirements can be associated with affordance properties that facilitate packaging related tasks. The structure of the framework allows an affordance-driven design through linking users’ requirements for affordances and packaging features. An affordance structure matrix (ASM) was constructed to document the relationships between affordance properties and packaging features. The framework will help create alternative packaging designs while considering the link between affordance properties and packaging features. It can also locate the problems that lead to low affordance levels of packages and allow modifications on the features of impacts.


Copyright Owner

Ahmad Abdelhafiz Mumani



File Format


File Size

187 pages