Today, the author of Design Consilience pointed me in the direction of an article "Designing with Vision" by LukeW. It tells a very good story but also brings out a Mischievous Thought in me. Could this be the reason Motorola are having trouble following the phenomenal success of the RAZR? LukeW's design pyramid is in fact a triangle. The reason we developed a truly 3-dimensional pyramid is that we realised the need for a tool that would help us connect a "Vision of the consumer experience" to the product. We were after all delivering something that should "change the life of the customer in some way or the world in which the customer experiences things."
Once we take this on board the need to connect the consumer experience to the brand communication, enabling technology and packaging system at functional and symbolic levels become paramount.
Hence our "Design Pyramid" which connects it all together:
I have talked about the success of the iPod in "Why the iPod succeeds when others don't" and recommend that we all start to think more about the "experience". In the case of the RAZR it is a great example of a product design that caught the public's imagination. To follow it Motorola needs to understand why people bought it and therefore what will be an (r)evolution to the next seductive form. This comes from understanding the experience not understanding the product. The "Why iPod succeeds..." post has plots of hypothetical experience of three mp3 players.... it is from this we can carry out a gap analysis and perceive wher we can improve our offer by closing the gap if we are below par or improve where we think we can open up existing gaps. The pyramid then allows us to creatively explore the territory of technology, packaging (what holds the technology bundle together) and communication ( how we tell people about it; and excite them).
Talking to RAZR users in a student group at Leeds University lead me to believe the RAZR has deficiencies in the ease-of-use, and reliability areas, so the second time around these existing customers are going to look for evidence of improved quality of packaging and better logic in features... which may lead them to Nokia.. who in spite of a 2003? wobble are paranoid about the user experience.
Alice Rawsthorn, who was director of the Design Museum, London for 5 years has written an interesting piece in the International Herald Tribune. She wrote:
By Alice Rawsthorn
Dec. 30, 2006 8:00 pm (Paris)
LONDON: It's changed the way we talk to each other. It's turned us into multi-taskers. It's taught us how to text. It's revolutionized our jobs by allowing us to work on the move. It's democratized the news media by enabling passers-by to photograph extraordinary events. It's given us access to the Internet, e-mail, music, social networks, a camera, clock, diary and phone - all in one tiny box.
No object has had as dramatic an impact on our lives in the past decade as the cellphone. Only the computer comes close. But more of us use a cellphone, and our relationship with it is more intimate. The cellphone is one of the handful of personal objects - like a watch - that we take with us almost everywhere.
So why are they so badly designed? And we're not talking about dodgy network service here, but the phones themselves.
Perhaps you don't think there's a problem. If you're gazing lovingly at your cellphone, marveling at how simple it is to use, how pleasing to look at and to touch, then, of course, you'll consider it to be well designed. Though I've yet to meet anyone who agrees with you. Few questions are more likely to elicit groans and complaints than asking people what they think of their cellphones........."
The article is worth reading in entirety.