Interface Design Blog: the good, the bad, and the utterly unusable...

Oldie but oh-so-goodie – Lavender Concept Phone Design

Posted on | June 9, 2010 | No Comments

I had been spoiled designing for iPhone and some of the nicer Android mobile phones, but recently I had to do a few projects on simpler, smaller, much less elegant devices running J2ME.  It got me thinkig of that thin line that separates the beautiful, slick devices from the ones that lack the ‘wow’ factor completely and would be only bought based on their discounted pricing.

Being a designer myself, I would definitely pay the premium (within reason) for a mobile phone, just to have that feeling every time I pull it out of my bag or pocket that I am holding a highly functional and usable yet beautiful product, a culmination of hard work and talent on behalf of both engineers and designers.

I looked again at the concept Lavender phone from a young designer named Andrew Kim that made a splash some time ago:

Lavender Concept Phone - Andrew Kim

Lavender Concept Phone - Andrew Kim

Clearly, the perfume functionality is very questionable, and functionality is not worked out in detail, but I just love the overall feeling of completeness of this phone.  Unlike many phones on the market, it boasts a beautiful cohesive design, where everything is just where it should be.  Though, of course, it is much easier to achieve the cohesiveness in concept products than in production models.

Designers Needed

Posted on | May 1, 2010 | No Comments

I went to the first TEDx at Berkeley last weekend.  It was an exciting and well organized event, very “Berkeley” in spirit, as my former coworker at Life360 (a Berkeley Incubator startup), and a Berkeley graduate, described it.  The event brought people of various disciplines together, but the underlying theme that united all speakers was ‘Doing the unprecedented’.  Speakers ranged from underwater photography guru Eric Cheng (www.wetpixel.com) to UC Berkley Men’s Octet… Very fun.

One talk that stood out for myself was Fred Dust’s (Partner at IDEO) discussion titled “Designers Needed”.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the presentation anywhere online to repost, but the idea was simple:  much design improvement can be done in all areas of our lives, and there aren’t enough designers to take on these jobs.  Solution:  by applying a few most important design principles, anyone can make good design decisions.

I cannot agree more.

Many developers and early stage entrepreneurs, given the lack of funding, take the first stab at design of their websites and apps.  Later on, they often bring in professional designers who end up taking apart V1 and redoing everything entirely.  A lot of time and money could be saved by applying a few basic principles of good design at the beginning.  Putting effort into understanding what drives your users, practicing empathy for your company’s customers really pays off in the end.

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