Kano Model

#method4 mentions


The Kano Model helps test, categorise and prioritise potential features for new Products and Services. It classifies them into five categories by mapping them according to the Customer Satisfaction they generate on the one hand side, and the functionality they provide and the associated cost on the other. It can be used to conceptualise feature profiles, empirically research customer preferences, and inform product Strategy.




The Kano Model maps potential features along two axes: customer satisfaction (from “frustrated” to “delighted”) and provided functionality (from “none” to “best”). Different types of features can then be mapped in the following way:

While the first three types are desirable, the second two are to be avoided: Dissatisfaction features actively repel potential customers, while indifferent ones have no positive return on investment.

Over time, market evolution and a process called hedonistic adaptation make sure attractive features decay: As customer expectations change with habituation and the level of performance from competing products, features move from attractive to performance to basic.

The true power of the Kano Model is that this classification is not only a conceptual framework, but can also be used to empirically determine customer preferences using the Kano questionnaire.

The questionnaire consists of a pair of questions for each feature you want to evaluate:

The first question is called the functional form, the second the dysfunctional form; both can only be answered with very specific options. To each “how do you feel if you had / did not have this feature”, the possible answers are:

From the possible combinations of answers to the questions, the following evaluation table can be constructed:

It allows you to classify the feature under consideration as Attractive (A), Performance (P), Must-have (M) and Indifferent (I). It also shows when a feature would lead to Dissatisfaction and the customer would indeed want the reverse of the feature under consideration (R), and if the feature is Questionable (Q) due to conflicting answers.

If you want to use the model in a thorough empirical investigation, the following process is advisable:

  1. Select the features you want to evaluate.
  2. Build a Prototype that lets users or potential customers experience these features as independently from other features as possible. Alternatively, describe the features as concretely and vividly as possible.
  3. Choose users or (potential) customers as interviewees. Segment them into early, late and non-adopters to keep their reactions to the feature comparable.
  4. Show the interviewees the feature or tell them about it.
  5. Let the interviewees answer the questionnaire in a way that makes the answers easy to compute, either in an online survey that feeds into a spreadsheet or in a dedicated Kano survey tool.
  6. Tabulate and the answers per user/customer segment to arrive at the classification of the feature. This can be done in a discrete fashion, by just summing up the respective answers per cell of the evaluation table, or in a more sophisticated continuous way using a more advanced spreadsheet.E.g. the one provided by Zacarias.

  7. Prioritise features according to the classification and your overall product strategy.




The use of this method is often implicitly consumeristCustomer-centric means consumerist most of time. When using the method, it should always be transparent whether the business goal is ultimately about creating new consumer needs or about improving how existing ones are being served.


The Kano Model was developed by Dr. Noriaki Kano, then professor of quality management at the Tokyo University of Science, in the 1980s while researching the factors contributing to customer satisfaction and loyalty. It was first documented in Kano (1984).

While the method was further developed in the 1980s and 1990s, the 2000s and 2010s saw an accelerating spread from quality management to product development and neighbouring disciplines. It has since become an established tool in product strategy and management.E.g. the one provided by Zacarias.