Making a mark in a world of slim

It must be really hard to be an electronics product designer at the moment.

Consider the plethora of same-same looking television sets at the moment. The primary opportunity for visual differentiation/expression seems to be increasingly limited to the stand.

slim-tvs
Images from a Google search

As electronics become increasingly thinner, physical products are fast becoming purer sums of their parts. Design as differentiation must in response shift to more consciously and deliberately encompass the wider and not-necessarily-visual aspects of how something is packaged, offered, unwrapped, used, serviced, identified-with, lived-with and ultimately disposed of. In other words, the whole user experience.

Working effectively with the holistic user experience of a service or product demands a people-centric and bigger-picture mindset. Traditional siloed design/develpmental processes have not produced particularly good holistic user experiences.

Are manufacturers (and their shareholders) ready to think about differentiation this way? Are designers ready to work this way? To go beyond what a product looks like, and give due attention to the whole experience? Will consumers learn to value the depth of a product/service beyond the superficial?

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