Democratic design: Yipes Stripes

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David Hill is VP of Design at Lenovo and the company’s first blogger. It’s been a great experience launching the Design Matters blog and getting David’s voice out into the world. Early on David requested a poll so we provided him with one. He quickly learned the best way to earn engagement from his readers was to ask them a question. Do you like wide-screen or 4:3 aspect ration LCDs? Do you use the page-forward/page-back buttons? Earlier this week he posted about an issue that came to our attention in early 2006 when customers complained about the stripes being removed from the front of the two ThinkPad mouse buttons. So David asked (John Bell at Ogilvy’s Digital Influence Mapping project might classify this as an example of customer co-creation) and the crowd replied.

I’ve been long interested in a more formal customer collaboration — something beyond a suggestion box approach — something tangible where the customer could get some true skin in the game. I have looked at Slim Devices as a great case example of how it could be done. The question is what is the right coillaboration infrastructure for getting it done? A straightforward wiki perhaps? Something more iterative, like a threaded bulletin/forum? While David shows the possibilities, I don’t think a WordPress blog with the Democracy plug-in is the solution. There must be something more robust, something used in software development perhaps, or the open source community, which would be easy and sophisticated enough for a layman or a serious human factors engineer to work within.

“Now we are reconsidering this change, perhaps we went too far in simplifying the interior. Although the utility can be argued, the familiarity is also important for a brand so strongly connected to it’s design as ThinkPad.I’d love to get your feedback on this topic. We’ve included a new poll to make this easier.

David Hill”

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

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