Ideation & Prototyping Week 5: New Metaphors

This week, our project is to redesign an existing product or service using a card deck or a design kit. If you’re not familiar with card decks; they are basically decks of cards that offer different prompts and brainstorming techniques for not only design but also many other purposes. Out of all the free card deck resources we are given, I decided to go with the Board of Innovation Brainstorm Cards. After going through all the cards briefly, I picked these two below:

I thought these two prompts were interesting because they all speak to the current trends in tech startups: personalization and customization. Now, these two terms might sound more or less the same, but the major difference is that personalization asks the product/service to actively learn and adapt to the user’s preferences, while customization gives users the option to modify the product/service to make it their own.

I then started thinking about the product or service that I am going to be redesigning. I thought about TV remote because it’s a piece of technology that’s always being modified, but there hasn’t been an industry standard or one design that stands out. So I decided to throw my hat in the circle and design a TV remote that would combine personalization and customization.

The first thing I did is to jot down some things that I hate & like about my remote. I don't like that my remote has a bunch of unused buttons and the most used buttons wear off easily. I also hate using it to type on the TV because it makes no sense to navigate a keyboard on the screen using only 4 or 5 buttons on the remote. Lastly, because the keys are made of rubber, they cling on to specks of dust and get dirty very quickly. However, I do like that the buttons have a nice, physical response, and that I can just toss it anywhere and not have to worry about it breaking.

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So combining everything together, my solution will integrate both digital and analog buttons; it will have various blocks of keys in different sizes and the top of the keys are made of digital displays that can be configurated into any button. To address the flimsy keyboard input, I also designed it to be the size of a small smartphone so that the user can easily type with one hand.

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I then sketched out my solution. My redesigned remote will be composed of three parts: the main body, modularized keys, and the cap. The main body will look like half of a phone and have a touch screen on top. Depending on the content the user is watching, it will display different functions and features. For instance, when the viewer is watching a show, the body will display volume setting and play/pause buttons; and when the user is typing, it will transform into a QUERTY keyboard that most people are used to using on their phone.

The modularized keys will have connecting ports that snap to the main body and other keys. To make sure that the keys don’t fall off easily, the remote is topped with a cap, which will have the power & input button. The remote is going to have an easy set up that will tell the user what configuration to use depending on their tech level and media preferences. The user will also have the option to mess around and customize each key into whatever button they like. And as the remote learns how the user holds & uses the remote, it will also give suggestions on how the remote can be further personalized.

It was fun and refreshing to work with some card decks and brainstorm prompts! They expedite my ideation process and allow me to think in ways that would inspire new creations.

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