Foamy Headphones and Smelly Clothes: Designing for the Second Moment of Truth

By Estelle

This post originally appeared at Core 77

High tech products

News about a bad product experience travels quickly. Maybe it’s because of the fact, according to a white paper “Designing for the User Experience,” that five times as many people will tell a friend about a bad experience than a good one, or that social media makes it easier than ever to share that negative message, but news of design shortcomings and failures spread fast.

If I’m buying a pair of headphones and the sound is good, but they’re not comfortable, they’re too small for my head, they are too foamy… I’m not going to have a good Second Moment of Truth with that,” explains Stuart Karten, Principal and Founder of Karten Design.

The same goes for a bottle of laundry detergent you may have purchased for its swanky packaging: if your clothes don’t come out smelling clean, you probably won’t buy it again. That Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) often relies on the user experience, what happens when a consumer actually uses the product. As more and more of those products move towards the digital space, that experience comes down to a digital interface, the intuitiveness of those interactions and ease of use. Karten elaborates:

In general, there are multiple trends that are happening in the consumer electronics arena. One is that things are becoming rectangular boxes with user interfaces. The “stickiness” and the appeal and the connection are moving into the digital space. That puts a lot of challenge on—not only the overall form factor of the product on that first level—but the second level of that digital engagement”.

There are other challenges as well when it comes to designing high-tech consumer electronics. “With High-Tech, the technology is usually brand new, so this thing that you are designing is actually morphing as you move down the development cycle because, as time is changing, the technology is advancing,” explains Rob Brady, CEO and Design Director at ROBRADY, which focuses on consumer, industrial, marine and medical products.

Both Karten and Brady agree that designing for that second level requires a user-centric approach, spending time with the target audience to anticipate and better meet their needs. For electronics and other high-tech goods, that means understanding the incentives behind why a consumer would want this product and the motivation behind their purchases. “People make a conscious decision that they want a new pair of headphones, a new laptop,” says Karten. “They want it to define who they are and the person they want to be.”

Watches rendering

Designing with a broadly aspirational approach often means putting a series of virtual prototypes in front of focus groups, simulating interaction and providing a realistic rendering that can then be iterated upon before even printing out a physical prototype. Once the limits of virtual prototyping have been reached, focus groups can be brought in and products are placed in their hands. As these products move into the digital space, however, so do those focus groups and companies like Dassault Systèmes are creating solutions that virtually emulate the product development process from coming up with a concept to testing it in a online retail or working setting.

Ideation & Concept Design

You build a model and you test it. You do an alpha and you test it. You do a beta and you test it. You prototype early and often,” says Brady. “At the end of the day, it’s all about humans interacting with products and designers making these different products approachable and accessible.”

Do not miss the new edition of MADEin3D contest “Cup of IoT”, featuring the theme of Internet of Things! Register to the MadeIn3D community to enter the contest now! Also, you will want to check out our white paper titled “Designing the User Experience”.

Enter the Cup of IoT contest!

The World Can be Changed Through the Power of Design

By Vincent

Concept design of Smartwatch

My colleague Michel and I recently imagined and developed a new product concept related to connected objects. With this in mind, we had a conversation with Jean Hong, Product Designer at Dassault Systèmes, to talk about his perspective on industrial design in the consumer electronics domain.
We decided to share that conversation with you to get your reaction and comments. Feel free to let us know.

Question (Q): If you had just three days to design a new electronic connected device, how would you proceed?

Jean Hong (JH):

Well, it depends on the objectives I get. Re-styling an existing product is obviously faster than defining a fully new concept. A few years ago I would have asked for about seven days to produce a new concept proposal. I usually needed this time to deliver a pretty exhaustive mix of hand sketching, 3D modeling, and realistic rendering.

Today, with the design solution I adopted, I can overcome this challenge, and deliver a finalized concept within three to four days. By the way, this is the kind of time pressure many of my customers ask me to deal with.

Electronic connected device sketching

Q: So you are telling me that you are now delivering the same output in three to four days that required seven days few years ago? Are you really delivering the same output?

JH:

Good point–there is a big difference in the output. Today I am able to deliver a concept with higher quality, ready for manufacturing, and containing more details than before in less time.

Sketching on paper is very time-consuming. You need multiple viewpoints, details, and colors to make yourself understood by other project team members and customers.

Now I can directly and quickly sketch my idea in the 3D environment. Keeping my design intent, I rely on this 3D sketch directly to model the product with the clay modeling approach of “Imagine and Shape” application.

Ideally, sketching and modeling should be done at the same time in the same environment. It is now possible with this software solution. I can mix these two ideation steps, evaluate, and validate the volume of my product concept. Technically speaking, I save a lot of time because no data import /export between different tools is needed.

3D sketch of a SmartWatch 3D rendering of a SmartWatch

Q: You talked about “design intent.” Why is it so important for you?

JH:

Many times products lose their initial design intent because so many people are behind the project and there are many steps before production. The concept shape, proportions, materials, details, and finishes express the high-level message I want to communicate. If this message is misunderstood or not technically specified correctly, the mechanical engineers will have a different interpretation or no idea at all, which will impact market success.

Q: How are you dealing with this issue?

JH:

Now that the entire project team relies on the same cloud collaboration platform, I can iterate in real time with the mechanical engineering team. All the specifications I add either to sketches or 3D models are directly usable. Because we work on the same data, the risk of misunderstanding is minimized. In addition, because the engineering data is visible to me, I can detect any issue and find a solution with the engineering department before it gets critical.

Q: Is the product design validation 100% digital?

JH:

We now have an incredibly powerful digital definition. We take advantage of it to share, communicate, and finalize the design concept. Did you see how realistic product rendering can now be with advanced effects such as physical light and reflections applied to the accurate materials definition? This can be done even by people who are not expert in this domain.

One might think that digital is enough, but this is not the case. At some point in time I need to touch, feel, and place the object in its real physical context. Weight sensation, hand-grab, and materials touch cannot be fully evaluated digitally yet. Taking the example of a smart watch, how can we validate ergonomics without being able to wear it? For this, anytime I feel the need, I just press the 3D print button, and create a product prototype.

Rendering smartwatch

Q: Do you think that we could see the digital world merge with the physical one in the coming years?

JH:

This is already happening. 3D print is starting to be affordable for people like you and I. Virtual reality devices already propose an immersive approach, and prototypes start to address more human senses such as touch and taste. The boundary between digital and physical is getting ever blurrier. I am fine with this, provided that I can still access user-friendly applications. I am sure that in the very near future, thanks to all the new applications, I will be able to leverage my design intent for usages we just can’t imagine today.

3D print product prototype

We really think that we can change the world through the power of design!
What about you?  Share your comments below.

Want to know more ? Visit our Ideation & Concept Design website, or Watch our video about new Concept Design and read the Whitepaper “The power of Design Thinking” written by  Phil Gray MDesRCA, Managing Director, Quadro Design Limited, part of Sagentia Group.

Vincent Merlino and Michel Monsellier are passionate members of the Dassault Systèmes High Tech Industry Solution Experience Team.

Introducing SOLIDWORKS 2015: Designed by You

By Bertrand

The world of design has changed in many ways since I joined SOLIDWORKS in 1997. Computer hardware becomes faster and more powerful every year, which is changing the way that our customers do their jobs. These days, engineers are required to wear many hats. When I visit customers, I often see situations where one person is doing work that would have been spread across an entire team twenty years ago, from designing and drafting to FEA and data management. It’s probably not a surprise to hear that these changes influence the development of SOLIDWORKS, and, in particular, this week’s release of SOLIDWORKS 2015.

YouTube Preview Image

From the start, SOLIDWORKS has been a user-driven product, and relies on feedback from a global community of more than two million users to shape the future of the tools they use. It’s true that some users are more vocal and honest than others, but understanding and responding to this feedback—both good and bad—is important. Listening to end users lets us understand how our products are being used; our product team has to be 100% certain that any new feature or enhancement provides real benefit to the SOLIDWORKS community before it goes into development. Our user-centric focus has not changed in SOLIDWORKS 2015, nor will it change in the future. In fact, SOLIDWORKS 2015 includes more than 200 new features and enhancements, and 90% of them are the direct result of requests and other feedback from end users.

Our first promise was to “put the power of 3D on every engineer’s desktop.” But that’s not a big enough challenge anymore. Our new promise is to continue developing 3D solutions that let you to meet modern engineering challenges head-on. It’s not enough to focus on making the software faster. We need to give you the tools that inspire you to design products that change the world. SOLIDWORKS 2015 is one step to fulfilling our commitment. As we continue to develop SOLIDWORKS to meet new and emerging needs, we’ll also look to expand the power of 3D and push its capabilities to the limit. Your success is our success.

I invite you to visit our launch website to explore the powerful new enhancements found in SOLIDWORKS 2015. I am certain that they will help improve your everyday productivity, optimize your work process, reduce operations costs, and let you solve more design challenges. Let’s go design!

SolidWorks 2015



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Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.