Senior System Designer :
Apple organizes every smallest detail that is part of the consumer’s perception of the product: from the perfect packaging to the interior of its retail stores, where free-floating glass stairs and color-coordinated T-shirts for employees are part of a carefully built environment.
Apple zooms in to see the world that is directly adjacent to the product and zooms out to see the wider circles emanating from the products. All this is done from the point of view of the consumer. Thus, Apple oversees the system as a whole.
The task of any company is to draw up a single vision of the overall process associated with the product from different voices and departments. The client wants to get a single process, and not a mishmash of scattered or repeating each other meaningless messages or a fuzzy point of view.
How to combine different needs and priorities so that the result is a holistic, senior system designer that harmonizes critical points of contact around goods and services?
Eliel Saarinen’s view of design in context can be considered a starting point. In my company, we start by asking customers a question about their goals in order to understand what the product should be and what value they want for the consumer to give it.
Formulating the right questions is often more important than creating the design itself. Questions help us scale down to Saarinen’s vision in a wider context. Our work with Palm Computing is a visual way to show how we ask questions in the first step of finding a solution.
In contrast to what Apple Newton and Microsoft Windows CE did, Palm created an organizational principle called Palm Zen. Not surprisingly, the slogans of Palm were simplicity and ease of use.
While competitors tried to pack more features into their PDAs, Palm openly tried to take away features. Result: Palm laptops were faster and easier, but they had great functionality that people needed and appreciated while on the move.
We immediately scaled down to see how this product interacts with other Palm offerings. We asked how it would compare with other Palm products. Saarinen would be proud of us. The Palm team has deployed its roadmap, which presents a classic list of products on the timeline.
The map included current goods, their planned “sunset time” and forecasts for those that were in development. One of the current models was Palm V. With its metal body and slim design, the model was gaining popularity among business executives not only for purely functional reasons.
She acquired a new meaning and became a symbol of status. It attracted buyers who were interested not only in functionality, but also in lifestyle, which involved a golf club and a private jet. We asked more questions to better understand the context of the market. What can a business client want from a cheaper and cut down PDA? What happens in the broad context of PDA design?
How could Palm attract more consumers to its new device? Further downscaling, we asked ourselves whether this new low-cost product would become part of a lifestyle, and not just a Business need.
To answer these questions, we presented the Palm roadmap in the form of a goal that described the capabilities of its product, set forth in the two-dimensional market space. Vertically, we have indicated the price.
Horizontal – how the product will be used: for organizing work activities – at one end, or for organizing a personal life of a client – at the other. Looking at the goal, we realized that most of Palm’s products are moderately expensive work tools, and the spectacular new Palm V model has charted a new path to an expensive assistant director linking professional and personal functions.
In the lower part of the market space, where prices are the lowest, goods – with their limited productivity and low cost – are becoming more attractive to consumers of the consumer rather than professional type.
This new scheme helped define the context of Palm products and inspired the team to develop the Palm m100 – a PDA that purposefully included lifestyle elements to attract new consumers. He had a rounded bottom and a waist. These attributes gave the design a welcoming and accessible look.
In addition, the m100 could be customized to your taste. Does the dark gray faceplate seem too boring? To Wall Street? For $ 20 you can replace it with a classy “sexy” faceplate in leopard spots. This model also had what we call a “quality miniature”, that is, the Palm m100 would be recognizable even in the size of a miniature ad on the advertising flyer with discount information put into the Sunday newspaper.