Robots' visual qualities (VQs) impact people's perception of their
characteristics and affect users' behaviors and attitudes toward the robot.
Recent years point toward a growing need for Socially Assistive Robots (SARs)
in various contexts and functions, interacting with various users. Since SAR
types have functional differences, the user experience must vary by the context
of use, functionality, user characteristics, and environmental conditions.
Still, SAR manufacturers often design and deploy the same robotic embodiment
for diverse contexts. We argue that the visual design of SARs requires a more
scientific approach considering their multiple evolving roles in future
society. In this work, we define four contextual layers: the domain in which
the SAR exists, the physical environment, its intended users, and the robot's
role. Via an online questionnaire, we collected potential users' expectations
regarding the desired characteristics and visual qualities of four different
SARs: a service robot for an assisted living/retirement residence facility, a
medical assistant robot for a hospital environment, a COVID-19 officer robot,
and a personal assistant robot for domestic use. Results indicated that users'
expectations differ regarding the robot's desired characteristics and the
anticipated visual qualities for each context and use case.
Comment: Accepted to the 15th International Workshop on Human-Friendly