Is this the age of product or user experience and usability?
Walter Landor, founder of Landor Associates wrote, “Products are created in the factory. Brands are created in the mind”. This position assumed by Landor years ago is still as relevant as the time when he first thought about it and this position still remains the watchword for a number of acclaimed brand specialists and up and coming designers. In earnest, it is even manifesting of recent the need to clearly distinguish between what a product stands for and a brand’s essence. Whether we believe it or not, it has influenced the general approach towards the development of products and communication.
In many instances, the position of manufacturers and businesses is hinged at building loyalty from their customer, however the next step beyond this is what should be considered as experience. It will be to focus on user experiences and ensure adequate usability of products. This is beyond stating through communication the essence of a product, that has been created in a factory and garnished with a creative designers’ input, but it should start with a deliberate attempt to aspire effectiveness from effort by both internal and external stakeholders. It should be aimed at producing designs, service and product use from a user centered perspective.
Organisations should embrace the need of user experience, by professionals constantly having a look out to improve accessibility, interface design and customisation for consumers. It will ideally involve contribution and input from all members, who are experienced in the creation of value down from factory to marketing, branding, design (visual) and ultimately service. Large companies and smaller ones and design agencies design managers and service designers to ensure that products do not only meet the utility benefits, but can be more focused to a specific individual use and experience. This criterion may be considered subjective in the sense that it should accommodate individual use ahead of a general consumer market.
The way mobile and smart devices are consumed, they are not only creating the essence or primary function for example of a mobile phone to make calls or an iPod just for music, but it has gone way beyond that to the feel of the touch and the way the keys are suited for use. Therefore, businesses and design professionals must create a balance with product benefit and user experiences as it may overall affect perception, loyalty, emotional inclination, and repeated acquisition.
In other words, businesses must seek to integrate a new or updated model, which should go beyond what exists from the viewpoint of product to experiences, which is likely to be created and accentuated by design managers within or outside the organisation.
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