In our 6th post, we focus on “MAINTENANCE & END-OF-LIFE”, as only diamonds last forever, require no maintenance and is unlikely that will be discarded. Regular Products have a different destiny.
disclaimer: The examples presented below are nor Projects/Products 03 designed/developed unless otherwise stated. All rights remain with their owners.
DURABILITY - Durability is a pretty relative term. The Product’s typology (some products are expected to be used for some seconds, others for 10+ years), use scenario (harsh environments, demanding users etc.) and each Organization’s business plan/model and ethics, are all factors determining a Product’s Durability standards. All the above are elements that Designers and Development Teams should consider when developing Product functions, choosing materials, components and manufacturing processes.
Vanmoof is a Dutch bicycle manufacturer that came up with some interesting solutions to enhance its Product durability in the harsh urban context. They did so by integrating the bike’s  lock and lights inside the bike’s robust frame so that these components will not easily break or be stolen. Then, they further improved the bike’s durability by printing a flat screen on the packaging they ship their products. Weird right? Actually no, as their shipping partners would not really handle the bikes with the appropriate care, resulting to damages and customer complaints. By printing a flat screen on the box (showing a Vanmoof bike) the shipping company employees, intuitively, got more careful, resulting to a 70%-80% drop of the damages.
MAINTENANCE - Let’s be honest. The vast majority of the consumer goods around us ar built so that they will not be Μaintained. Shall a problem occur, for Organizations is cheaper and faster to just replace the Product with a new one and just discard the old one. Even better, the customer will be directed to buy a new one as either Maintenance is not available or it is too costly that buying a new Product sounds like a more reasonable choice. Profitable? Yes. Ethical or environmentally friendly attitude? Most likely no, although there are many theories. However, there are Products that need to be Maintained which means to be disassembled and reassembled.  Designers and Development Teams need to consider these processes so Maintenance will not require complicated equipment, will take little time and will not further damage the Product.
Apple, introduced many design and engineering innovations as well as  what we call “disposable technology”. With its impossible or difficult to be Maintained devices (strategic and design decisions) it created a movement that even younger tech companies followed. A trend where when a Product malfunctions or stops working, all you can do is to try to fix (with high chances to create further damages) or just throw away.

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