Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Postmortem - Flower Alarm Clock (short version)

            We have developed our idea further from the Design Brief of a Muji Compact Stapler and Purell Hand Sanitizer to a Flower Alarm Clock. Currently, there are no products designed to spray scents as they alarm. This is decorative, functional, affordable and on top of that, amusing. The alarm clock will awaken three senses, olfactory, visual, and auditory, as the scents spread out, petals and leaves fall apart, and sound activates. While trying to set alarm off, users need to get physically involved to put the petals back to the correct position like a puzzle and surely, they will be ready to start the day. We gave options for users to choose different kinds of scents (e.g. flowers, coffee, bread, fart, lemon, fish sauce, cotton candies, etc.), different color of flowers, and different alarm tone (e.g. ambulance siren, fax machine, door bell, helicopter, scream, etc) Customization to satisfy users is the most crucial aspect of the design because some might wake up better with an amusing sound and a bad scent whereas some might prefer an annoying sound and a sweet scent.
            Although our design concept already includes customized a color, a scent, and a sound, we would even want to add more design options than just a flower shape to suite various tastes of users. During the critique, we found out that a flower-shaped design may not be so attractive to men to purchase it. We will make sure there is a customer service ready in case of any damage occurred by falling parts(petals and leaves) despite the product is made with flexible and soft plastic materials. According to peer in the class, we can add more functions for the petals so it works like a fan and helps purifying the air if a user wants to.
            After the Design Brief, we have changed our idea several times since it seemed people do not prefer to wake up with a “fart” odor. That is how we came up with giving more choices on scents as well as sounds. Darcy and I have agreed to create something that’s unusual and fun rather than functional at first. We began to think about functions of an alarm clock later as progressing with our design. Narrowing down the target users was challenging because we generally assumed everyone who is bored of the conventional alarm clock would want to buy this product. We targeted “kidults” after research on markets to find out who would be more specific users of the toy-like alarm clocks.

Flying Alarm Clock

Clocky Robot Alarm

Primary purpose – To haul people out of bed

            Before we came up with our first design, we researched alarm clocks that are lately invented. The bestselling items are Flying Alarm Clock and Clocky Robot Alarm. The Flying Alarm Clock is designed for users to catch the propeller-driven key to turn off the alarm clock. Also the Clocky Robot Alarm clock is designed for users to chase after it and catch it to turn off. The designs of the Flying Alarm Clock and the Clocky Robot Alarm require more interaction with users than the designs of the traditional alarm clocks which only wake up auditory senses at first. These products remind me of the importance of physical involvement in order to wake up more effectively.

Traditional Coil Holder

Animal Mosquito Trap Coil Holder

Ibuki (Japan)
Primary purpose – To trap mosquito

            When I saw “Animal Mosquito Trap Coil Holder” for the first time, I was fond of how well it reflected culture. In East Asia, there is poisonous mosquito all around during summer and many efficient products have released to prevent the users from the poisonous mosquitoes. However, it is hardly ever seen any mosquito trap product that actually considers decorative aspect like this one. It’s designed to hold the mosquito trap coil and there are two choices to pick the model, a pig or an owl. The ordinary coil holder is visually unattractive. If buyers have choices to pick between ordinary one and the newly designed one, I’m sure they will purchase the later. Besides, it can be used as a pen or a paper holder before or after summer. This example is similar in a way of being functional and decorative at the same time, I would like to consider and study more about the targeted culture, which is “Kidults” in my case to find out what they are looking for.

            With our design concept, users should be able to fully wake up. However, it is unclear how many people are willing to buy the product if released. It is a task to set a reasonable and affordable price for the users. The Flying alarm clock costs $24.99 and the Clocky Robot Alarm costs $49.99, so we are looking at somewhere around $30.00. The most important goal is providing customized alarms that users will get physically active and be awake for the day. Also, they will enjoy looking at the product even when they are not being used. “Mosquito Trap Coil Holder” is designed to target people in specific culture. We could even change our product more girly or manlier. For sure, we are in need of researching how long the gas will last in the room and design it to disappear as soon as it needs to. It would be helpful to study on olfactory films and how it works because they should have made sure that the odor didn’t last for long time to move on to different scents for other scenes.

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