New concepts in mobile handset design
11 December 2004 by axxxr
Alloy an industrial design consultancy with a leading track record in communications design and PMN, the independent mobile market intelligence firm, have announced the results of an extensive research and product design collaboration at the World Handset Forum in San Diego.
With the handset industry facing a growing challenge to differentiate and maintain the perceived value of its products, Alloy and PMN believe there is a need to challenge existing thinking in mobile phone design. Alloy’s concept models demonstrate an alternative approach to the product design of mobiles, driven by a deep understanding of real user lifestyles and requirements. Future success in the rapidly maturing mobile handset industry will be driven by a philosophy of market segmentation based on user attitudes. This requires an unprecedented depth of insight into each segment and an ability to convert this into designs that fit so well into life that users feel their handset has been designed for them personally.
Building on their market insight, PMN identified 4 consumer profiles poorly served by existing offerings in the mobile handset market. These individuals and small samples of people who matched the profiles were at the heart of the design process, with Alloy conducting intensive and detailed 1-to-1 conversations and a series of informal small group sessions.The Alloy design team got to know their target audience on a first name basis, enabling them to gain a real understanding of how mobiles fit into their life. Their learnings inspired 4 subtly innovative designs:
Inc.: a phone for Jenny, one of 5 in our sample, representing the many who need to use a mobile, can’t afford to compromise their image but who also face the minor, but inevitable, physical challenge of ageing. 24/7: a phone for Mark, one of 4 people who represent the many heavy mobile users on high disposable incomes with work-hard, play-hard lives and an ability to pay what it takes to get an uncompromising mobile terminal.V-Max: a phone for Travis and the rest of class 2b at Farnham’s Heath End High School. A tightly knit social group of 20 highly vocal, music-sharing, young style-conscious individuals who know what they want.
Essential: a phone for Clare, one of 10 local women aged 35-44 who represent the many women with extremely busy, multi-faceted lives, who own mobiles, but still don’t use them much.
Inc.: A phone for Jenny
Jenny, a PR consultant, aged 45+, one of five in our sample, representing the many who need to use a mobile, can’t afford to compromise their image but who also face the minor, but inevitable, physical challenge of ageing. “It’s crazy but I can’t actually read the keys without my glasses.” High Legibility Keypad: Large key graphics and numerals, reversed light on dark, each key surround picked out with a backlight to provide a clear target area.
“I need big text but I don’t want to be singled out or patronised. I’d rather make do.”
“I really hate menus, I want a simple interface, like my old Nokia.”
24/7 : A phone for Mark
Mark, Financial consultant, one of 4 people who helped Alloy understand the frustrations of many heavy mobile users on high disposable incomes who can’t understand why they have to make so many compromises to fit mobiles elegantly into their work-hard, play-hard life.
I have to carry too many things every day”
“My laptop is over sized for most of my out-of-office activities”.
“On business trips I need a proper camera as well”
“Evenings and weekends I really only make voice calls.”
V-Max : A phone for Travis
Travis, a student, age 15, and the rest of class 2b at Farnham’s Heath End High School. A tightly-knit social group of 20 kids, all of them highly vocal, music-sharing, young style-conscious individuals who didn’t hold back from telling us what they wanted. “I listen to the radio and MP3 files through my handset but the sound quality is awful.”
“I want to make a statement about my lifestyle with my friends.”
“I don’t like having to start up my PC just to listen to my digital music.”
Essential : A phone for Clare
Clare (age 38), an accountant Mum, taking a career break to raise kids and organise her local village. One of a sample of ten women who helped Alloy understand why their phone was never on, even when they remembered to bring it along. “I keep my mobile in my handbag. It’s hard to find, I can never get to it in time when it rings, so I usually leave it off.”
“I don’t know how to lock the keypad on my phone. I often dial people by mistake when my phone is in my bag.”
“I don’t know how to turn the ringer off, so I just turn the phone off altogether. But I then forget to turn it back on”
“I sometimes forget where I left my mobile and when I come back to it the battery is flat.”
“The only things I remember to take out with me are my keys.”