31 March 2006

Philips shows product concepts designed with users [Reuters]

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Philips Intuitive Connected Home
Dutch Philips Electronics on Wednesday unveiled innovative product ideas that emerged from its design laboratories in collaboration with consumers seeking friendlier high technology gadgets.

Elements of these concepts could appear in products on store shelves as early as this year, Europe’s top consumer electronics group said.

The ideas, all based on available technology, are aimed at making gadgets easier to use and share among various types of users. […]

"The user experience is now the driving force behind our  design development process," said Andrews, creative director of Philips’ Intuitive Connected Home design research project.

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.

Tests are designed to see if consumers understand a  product, know how to use it and recognize the value.

"The result is an experience prototype," Andrews said. "It’s not the same as a design model which looks nice but is impossible to produce, and its not the same a technical prototype which works well but is a block of technology with wires protruding from all sides." […]

"The value of a product is no longer created in the factories, but at the point of interaction with the consumer. So we need to have a clear understanding of consumer values," said Philips design chief Stefano Marzano.

"This is the reason why design is now seen as a core strategic way. Design is a strategy for companies eager to generate qualities rather than (products)," he added.

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