Having collaborated or/and developed Products across various industries for Companies ranging from startups to SMEs and Fortune 500 in Asia, Europe and N.America, in a series of 7 posts, we share Factors we experienced and affected our Design and Product Development processes.
Here, in our 3rd post, we focus on “USERS”, and their expressed, unexpressed considerations, needs and desires.
disclaimer: The examples presented below are nor Projects/Products 03 designed/developed unless otherwise stated. All rights remain with their owners.
CONTEXT - The Context within a User-Product interaction occurs, envelopes the so-called User-Product Experience (UX) and defines a Product’s relevance to the User. Whether this Context is physical (a macro-environment/space like an urban area, a meso--environment/space like a hotel or a micro-environment/space, like laying on a bed before sleeping, or immaterial like the emotion of relaxation or a stressful situation, all drastically determine the UX.
Google, with Google Glass, attempted to make the world an even better place; unfortunately it didn’t. Google Glass, perhaps could make better activities within some micro-environments, micro-contexts like surgical rooms, factory production lines  and so on. But Google promoted its gadget like an everyday object to be used in macro-meso-environments by constantly recording anyone and anywhere, something that, surprise surprise, was unacceptable to the wider public.

CULTURE - Academics have identified various levels of Culture. Cultural groups defined by geography, others defined by ideologies and beliefs, of brand preference etc. Developing a mass Product in this sense is a challenging task for the Designers and Development Teams, as, that Product/Service has to be acceptable in one Culture that may be  less desirable or even looked up as offensive in another.
Living and working among different cultures in Europe and Asia, we have come across various products that while they make perfect sense to one culture, they make absolutely no sense to another. Such products are the little figures by Takara Tomy Arts (like these big-jaw animals) that, in contrast to what many may expect, they are super popular among office employees (sarariman - サラリーマン / oeru - オーエル) in Japan and other Asian countries. One reason is that they decorate with these figures their office desks to lighten the mood, while at the same time they are ice-breakers, conversation starters between colleagues.

USABILITY / ERGONOMICS - It is a no-brainer that a Product should be designed in such a way that for a user is easy and comfortable to interact with it (unless it is a dining chair for restaurant that is intentionally designed to be “not-so-comfortable” so customers do not occupy a table for a long time). Human physiology, psychology and cognition dictate the Product’s architecture, use scenario, form, materials, colors etc.
A wonderful object is the Olivetti Divisumma 18, a ‘70s portable professional calculator. Designed as a modular system, it provides visual cues on how to be operated. Covered with rubber material (first time for an electronic device) for better grip and pleasant tactile feedback when operated. Painted yellow, lightens the mood as it veers from the dark-colored austere looks of office equipment.

IMAGE - Whether real or fake, the Products people choose to purchase, have to tell stories about them. Many times we do not purchase things based on our practical needs but based on aspirations, fantasies and the image we want to portray to the outside world. Designers and Development Teams have to create Products by balancing between the real and imaginary worlds that these Products will be used.
Moncler is a  apparel company famous for its down jackets, originally developed to be worn by workers and professional skiers in the demanding environments up in the Alps.Today, the brand develops products that bring a flare of danger and extremity to urban dwellers.

Back to Top