Through history, product design passed the mechanical, electrical and electronic eras where big inventions were accompanied by big hype.
Among those earlier inventions, only those that have incorporated aspects of today’s digital era have met the user’s requirements, whether in a telephone, refrigerator or medical equipment.
As users, we value easy-to-use products that add to comfortable living. Broadly, Europeans were initial inventors who provided functional benefit, Americans mass produced for more people to enjoy affordable products, while the Japanese miniaturised design to bring it close to consumers as cozy, friendly output. Beyond such functional features, I’ve developed a design culture that factors in unlimited sensorial advantage for consumers to always reduce effort and increase comfort when using any industrial product design.
I wrote about ‘reduce effort increase comfort design (RE-ICD)’ in my book Jalebi Management. It reflects people’s psychological and physical craving, and directly connects it to their behaviour. Here, product design becomes sensorial, gets driven by commerce, provides fundamental physical benefits and hence can differentiate any product as pay-off. RE-ICD discipline can be deployed in any product in any category.
Always living in the consumer context, I approach my consulting work through the consumer’s eye, heart, soul, behaviour and psychological ergonomics — the study of the relationship between man and a product.
This allows me to easily enter and accomplish a required design. I’ve found eight universal product design categories that touch billions of people worldwide in their daily lives. RE-ICD can play a major role here to uplift the product’s value towards functional benefit excellence. The eight categories are industrial engineering, digital technology, habitat, luxury goods, FMCG, fashion, service industry and infrastructure design.
Engineering products are precision driven: When engineering components dominate products such as in the auto industry, their alignment, cohesiveness and a particular shape with metal, wood, plastic or any new material, need a tremendous blend that translates to RE-ICD discipline of high creativity. The physical engineering design object should have great detailing and refinement that is visible to give an air of mystery and create genuine aspiration for consumers. Here RE-ICD takes a central theme that becomes the payoff.
Digital technology design is convergence of multi-component factors: Intrinsically, digital technology has no physical expression but improves the product’s feel or unstated usage advantage. RE-ICD design that is driven by non-human digital language has to be obsessed with humanisation. An opposite example is a small smartphone that’s difficult for everybody to use. Today when technology is commoditised, freely available and newness comes every fortnight, an out-of-the-box RE-ICD is required for commercial success.
For example, one switch in a digital camera takes you from making a video to photography. The DSLR camera even allows changing of the lens to bring different effects.
Habitat is comfort and personification: The art of living incorporates habitat continued…