You Too, can Design a Better Mouse!
The Business Week design innovation section is fast becoming one of my favourite reads (Just ignore the blogs!). Recently they featured the strategic redesign of a computer mouse for Kensington Technology Group. More on my thoughts after the jump.
Focus on Emotion
Having product designers instead of dedicated researchers conduct the study gave the designers a head start in thinking about the creative problems they’d be facingâ€”and strengthened the research because designers asked questions and noticed details that might have gone overlooked by someone else. “There’s an emotional connection that people have to products,” Becker told me. As a product designer observing users first hand, “you’re just more in tune to how people interact with the product. You notice how someone holds it, notice all these different subtle interactions,” Becker said.
But the team didn’t follow the research by going straight into design. Instead, they took a step back and formulated a product experience strategy that “basically became the foundation of every thought throughout the process that we put into the product,” according to Rodriguez. The strategy eventually took the form of three “design pillars,” which were used to guide the work of the team as the design evolved.
Its a great read especially as it talks about design development on a very strategic level. This so called “design pillars” developed from the “product experience” is the basis of what I like to call “design for brand”. Core values about their brand that have been influenced by trends and then translated into the product’s form and design. You see Kensington struggled in 3rd place behind Microsoft and Logitech, and needed a product to differentiate itself and communicate what the company is all about. Often “design for brand” is a back and forth process, sometimes the brand influences the product, and sometimes a core product in turn influences the direction and positioning of the brand. This is a great example of the latter.
Do check it out as not only is it a great read, but it has some great product development images that describe the design process, as well as the considerations by the designers and influences from the market.