Back at the end of 2004 PMN and Alloy collaborated on a project entitled ‘Design for reality’. The objective was to highlight the long-term goal of designing mobile devices which the user feels have been created for them as an individual.
We found 4 target users who represented particular lifestyles, ranging from a self-employed consultant who mixed work and play 24 hours a day to a lady in her mid-fifties who was starting to experience some of the first physical impairements of ageing, such as reduced dexterity and poor eyesight.
After group research, an individual user champion was appointed to represent each of these target profiles. They were involved at every stage of the design process, shaping their user experience through direct interaction with Alloy’s product designers.
I note with interest that Philips, Europe’s largest consumer electronics manufacturer, is now adopting a similar approach, as highlighted by this Reuters article.
According to Anton Andrews, creative director of Philips’ Intuitive Connected Home design research project: “The user experience is now the driving force behind our design development process.”
The article continues: “Rather than approaching consumers at the very end of the design process to test concept products, Philips’ Intuitive Connected Home project tracks consumers’ habits, shows them ideas for an application, seeks further comment online and shows real prototypes even before the products are tested.”
You can download a PDF outlining the Alloy/PMN Design for reality project here: http://www.pmn.co.uk/alloypmnpr.pdf