Stumbled across this interesting article on the BBC news site today over lunch. The idea of customer led product development is certainly intriguing and I can see both the benefits and the pit falls. On the one hand you could develop products that meet a need of the consumer exactly, targeting a specific need and solving problems without having to conduct in depth market research and focus groups. You also get a wealth of ideas and at a lower cost. It could be seen as quite gimmicky, as in many instances consumers need to be led some of the way into committing to a new product offering, as on some occasions they don’t know what they want until they see it. Interesting that Made.com has made this a feature of their business and it shows how integrated we are with the far east in terms of product sourcing and manufacture if bespoke items like this can be made and are deemed to be financially viable.
Personally I would be interested to see how the intricacies of this process works; who is developing the concepts for manufacture?, what is the quality of the products produced? Moreover what about the role of the designer, are we deemed out of touch with the consumer?
Maybe we could all learn something from Crowd sourcing, personally though I feel it is a step towards design by committee, and I am with Jaron Lanier when he says:
“Do you really think that Simon Cowell would have promoted the Beatles through some show where the crowd was voting? … Of course not.”
I always get really excited about these sorts of things. E-Ink surfaces and walls transparent screens, the ability to flick media from one device to another without the need for laborious sharing processes. However I still feel that even though screen technology is obviously going to advance beyond recognition the way we interact with a computer has hardly changed at all since the conception of the personal computer. I hope this will change accordingly, incorporating gesture recognition etc.
Really totally amazing time-lapse video of Tokyo.
Japan’s Tsuya Textile Company, in conjunction with the Fukui Engineering Center, has developed Delight Cloth, a “light-emitting textile” made from fiber optic strands woven into a sort of tapestry. A light source is required, but when this is integrated into the clothing the effects are jaw-dropping. Colours can be controlled to allow garments to be customized and flexible to the users fashion style.
I really love products like these, SO simple yet SO effective. It’s a great concept offering a part finished product which can finished simply by the user in whichever way they seem fit.
This little clock can be wall mounted, then you pick literally anything you like to make the hour and minute hand.
This is the sort of design one looks at and immediately may think ‘ah that’s so simple, why didn’t I think of that!’ however, from experience it tends to be these sort of concepts that actually take more thinking than initially expected. With the rise in popularity of mass customisation, products embracing this movement are generally met with much satisfaction.
Although it may look like a pine-constructed caravan prototype, I quite like the concept behind it – a solidly constructed tent. You may feel as though you’re living in a cupboard on castors but the compactness is really quite engaging and looks like it could actually be fairly cosy. Reminds me of capsule hotels.
Found this on coolhunting.com and thought it was quite a nice sample of interaction design. Smart home concepts and technology have been around for a while now so it’s no news that you can control most things in your house from one little tablet. However I like the idea shown in the image below; the screen shows and image of the room you’re in and you simply touch elements on the image e.g. a light to turn it on and off. And of course it goes without saying that there is the obligatory iPhone app to go with it, so you can remotely control your home whilst away on vacation.
My one little niggling thought with these concepts though is that currently this sort of technology integration is only really available if you’re pretty wealthy due to it’s excessive cost. So by the time this sort of thing becomes accessible to the vox pop, new and probably cheaper technology will be available – I predict that in time you won’t need a screen to access the technology, it will all be motion/gesture detection.