Size: People

Lens: Type: Characteristic
Size: People:

A person’s physical size.

Photo: danielrechef
a woman who is pregnant

A person’s physical size can be an important aspect of experience when considering how to design outcomes that involve physical interaction. A person’s physical size can prevent them from walking through doorways without ducking. The size of their fingers can make it frustrating to press buttons on screen-based displays. In some cultures and during different periods in history, “small” or “large” physical size has been both favorably and unfavorably viewed by society. A person’s physical can change over time due to a wide range of circumstances.

Researching Size: People

Knowing a person’s size can help researchers create objects that work in harmony with users’ physical makeup. A person’s physical size can impact their access to resources and how much ease they experience when completing basic tasks. A person whose shoe size is larger than a US 15 can have a very hard time finding shoes, they have access to fewer brands and styles, and shoes typically cost more than ”typical” sizes.

Questions to Ask About Size: People

  • What are this person’s physical dimensions?
  • How is a person’s size regarded in the context being studied?
  • In what ways do the person’s physical size cause problems when they use products, services, and systems?

Look for These When Researching Size: People

  • A person struggling to use something.
  • A person who brags about their size.
  • A person who actively works to alter their size.


References and sources that support the inclusion of this Aspects of Experiences for Design component.


Hassenzahl, M., Diefenbach, S., & Göritz, A. (2010). Needs, affect, and interactive products—facets of user experience. Interacting with Computers, 22(5), 353-362. doi:

Schifferstein, H. N. J., & Hekkert, P. (Eds.). (2008). Product Experience (1st ed.). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.

Physical Sciences

Collins, M. E., & Collins, M. E. (1991). Body figure perceptions and preferences among preadolescent children. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10, 199-208.

Furnham, A., Lim, A. N., Furnham, A., & Lim, A. N. (1997). Cross-cultural differences in the perception of male and female body shapes as a function of exercise. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12, 1037-1053.

Thompson, J. K., & Thompson, C. M. (1986). Body Size Distortion. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 5(6), 1061-1068.