Opposites attract: Why smart & simple products look different

As technical innovations continue to rapidly change interaction principles, we need to constantly find ways to create the most relevant holistic user experience
The way a physical product looks is derived very much from the way the user interacts with it. Physical objects appeal directly to human emotions and senses; without even realizing it the objects around us affect us in an emotional way (“I hate that dripping coffee machine,” or “I love the comfort of my new armchair.”).

In that sense, a physical object has the potential to create the perfect bridge between our intuitive understanding of a tangible, object-based environment and the non-tangible world of digital systems and services. More often than not, the experience can be disappointing: have you ever stood in front of a parking ticket machine, trying to navigate what seems like a never-ending process? The steps you have to go through (like inserting your ticket, paying, waiting for a confirmation, and then finally receiving your new validated ticket) are spread all over the device, without any intuitive order or logical pattern.

The physical product should serve as an interpreter for the digital functionality behind it. A product that is controlled by a touchscreen, voice, gestures or sensor information will definitely look different - it has to transport different information and use cues from a traditional, button controlled device. In an ideal product, the physical object and the digital interface create a rich and seamless customer journey.

By taking a user-centered design approach we receive a lot of information about human behavior and needs. An important insight is that humans are deeply rooted in the physical world, regardless of the fact that everything seems to be apps and interfaces. We are convinced that the combination of carefully designed physical objects, digital products and relevant services will create the most complete and meaningful user experience.

We recently strengthened our industrial design expertise and infrastructure, so we invite you to talk to us and discuss possibilities to create a holistic user experience together.