Vision in product design
During this project I used the method of Vision in Product design (Vision in Product Design, M. van Dijk & P. Hekkert, Amsterdam: BIS Publishers, 2012).
In a nutshell, this method first lets you understand the previous product during the construction phase seen on the left side of the figure. The right side shows the construction phase, which starts at defining the future context leading to the definition of the desired interaction and product qualities. These three steps are part of the vision which sets the foundation for the design.
The project starts with a deconstruction of the smart brand, in order to get a good understanding how the design can fit within the product portfolio of smart since it unveils the true values of the smart brand.
The second phase of the Vision in Product design method covers the construction phase. The goal of this phase is to create a vision based on constructed future context. After a thorough research all defined context factors were clustered into ten different clusters.
Subsequently a coherence was shaped that led to the definition of the three meta-factors or ‘pillars’, that have the biggest impact on individual mobility in urban areas in the future context.
Direction within context
Since not all needs can be covered, a direction was chosen that showed the best fit with the smart brand. This eventually led to the definition of the vision, which is embodied by three elements.
It was defined that the interaction between the user and the environment is most important and can be described as browsing the world wide web. Based on this the following mission statement was defined:
"smart wants people to enrich their commute by letting them shape or transform their perception of the environment around them & facilitate them to shift between those two strategies when desired."
The vision led to three product qualities, namely 'positively openness', 'neutral simplicity' & 'empowering intelligence'. The product would be used in an on-demand mobility system, accessible through the users’s personal mobile device. This would make access independent of time and place. A seamless experience from the personal mobile device to the product was a must.
Shaping facilitates an interaction or connection with the physical environment. This can be amplified by a virtual layer that can be projected on top of the perception of this environment. Vision is the primary interface to the city, therefore it should not be obstructed for the user. The user should also be able to hear and feel the city.
Transforming allows the user to fully disconnect from the physical environment. The perception can be completely changed or transformed by using virtual reality. The car should be able to isolate the user from the physical environment for a optimal disconnection. Vision & sound can be blocked, and the feeling of movement can be minimised by a contra motion by the chair.
The design of the vehicle was done inside-out, taking the human as the central starting point. The interaction would only work with one person, as more people would make it more a shared experience instead of a personal one. This was not the goal, so the decision for a one person vehicle was clear. From the start the window played an important role, as this would be the main interface to interact with the environment. The goal was also to keep the footprint low, so design as efficient as possible. This also led to have 3 instead of 4 wheels. This shape also made it possible for an easy exit, especially as the chair could rotate. The car is asymmetrical as it only has one door, again a deliberate choice.
Thinking from the inside out.
Thinking from the inside out.