Home Appliances within the Family Setting

Research Overview

Commissioned by a leading home appliance manufacturer, we conducted an anthropological study to deepen our understanding of the relationship between families and IoT (Internet of Things) -enabled home appliances.

Research Methodology

  • Hypothesis Design
    We pre-emptively explored the joys and stresses that IoT appliance users might typically experience. In collaboration with the client, we also examined preconceived notions that the client might have.
  • Preliminary Survey
    To grasp basic information about the interviewees’ perception and usage of home appliances, as well as spatial constraints in their homes, we designed worksheets for them to complete in advance.
  • In-depth Interviews
    One of our anthropologists conducted interviews with IoT appliance users.
  • Fieldwork
    Based on the results of the in-depth interviews, we visited the homes of some interviewees to conduct fieldwork on the relationship between families and home appliances.

Research Findings

  • We were able to identify specific directions and possibilities for how IoT appliances can facilitate smoother family relationships and communication.
  • Through the holistic approach, we gained new insights that differed from our initial hypotheses, such as the transformative dynamics between spouses manifested through seemingly unrelated household chores.
  • We clarified that the joys and stresses people feel vary significantly depending on the household tasks involved.

Key Points and Outcomes

  • Interviews were conducted with both spouses, which enabled us to extract emotional nuances and differences in perceptions about household and childcare responsibilities that are not usually articulated in their daily conversations.
  • By regularly conducting workshops for the client throughout the project, we provided opportunities for the client to re-examine user pain points and UX from an anthropological perspective. The synergy between the client’s literacy in IoT appliances and our anthropological approach made the study highly effective.
  • We were able to extract a broader range of insights than initially anticipated, which will be valuable for the client’s future service development.


IDEAFUND is a professional research company located in Tokyo. Since its foundation in 2018, its founder Naoko and her colleagues have applied the methodology of cultural anthropology to market/consumer research. By doing so, they have always tried to understand the wholeness of consumers/users and to find some keys to innovation.

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