Monthly Archives: January 2013

DAT304 – Self Assessment Essay

This was a really good project to work on as I have always had an interest product design and development and also have ambitions to start my own company. The project served as an exercise in creating an idea and turning it into a business.

Temperamental was based on the an earlier project from another module which looked at it conceptually rather than as a product. I didn’t want to waste what I thought to be a potentially good idea and carried it over and developed it from there. Having been unable to attend a few early lectures I fell behind but I was able to catch up towards the end. At one stage I was not confident with the idea and was considering changing it. The problem I was having was that I couldn’t settle on the idea because I could potentially come up with a better one. I decided to cautiously continue with my initial idea which as I was working on it, became more complete and I became progressively much happier with it.

The main strength of the product is in the novelty and humour aspect that makes it a good gift. It’s not directly useful in it’s primary role as a toy but it does have secondary functions that could be useful to people. The gift market is huge and this kind of product is hugely popular, this product would seek to target the higher price range within this novelty, compulsive purchase space. The electronics technology involved is relatively simple and the bulk of the cost of the product to produce would be spent on the finish and feel of the product. The product incorporates a game-play aspect in that while it has been made happy by matching the environment it wants it can  increase the owner’s score on their website profile. This gives the product a longer life than just the initial novelty.

The secondary function is as an indoor weather station. Devices connected via USB to computers running some software would be able to send data to the website. This would allow logging as well as sharing the user’s score. Users could choose if they want to publish their live data publicly and this would be added to a set of maps on the website showing real-time data from around the world. This data would also be made available using an API for art and research projects.

Potential legal problems could arise from broad patents and impinging on trade dress of other products held by larger companies. These however, may only become an issue when Temperamental has grown sufficiently and is better able to deal with them. Another potential threat is competition, but being first to market with this kind of product and being community driven this threat is somewhat negated.

I was determined to keep the branding clean and simple, whilst warm and appealing  and felt that the designs I produced were a good reflection of the image I was trying to convey. The logo was able to put across the vague nature of the product to people who had not been told about it and with the slogan “The Complaining Robot” were almost able to get the full concept very quickly. Having spent my last year building websites I chose to create the basis of a site to show how the company’s visual style would be applied. Other examples of this are the letterhead and presentation slides. The branding uses orange on white and features sweeping orange curves. A brand identity guideline document would set out the precise dimensions, rules for scaling, margins, typography and colours.

The product design itself was also kept simple, I opted for a sphere as I wanted the device to be tactile and mostly featureless. I modelled the design in CAD software so that I could look at the design from all angles as I worked on it. I thought about and researched manufacturing processes that could be used to achieve the form and finish I wanted. I looked at various mechanisms and how comparable products are assembled as well as the various companies that manufacture them. The product would be made with a complete product life cycle in mind, including ensuring that parts are recyclable and environmental impact during manufacture, distribution and eventual disposal are considered.

I felt that my 2 minute pitch went well and I was able to get useful feedback from it despite only having one week to make use of it before the 5 minute pitch with visuals. The 5 minute pitch the following week also went well but I had not managed to correctly pace the presentation and had to rush the end. Compared to the 2 minute pitch without visuals I think having to turn to both change slide and read the slides threw me off somewhat and I could have made better use of the prototype. Despite that I think both pitches were able to get across my idea effectively.

In-order to continue with this I would first get one or more prototypes built, then with a prototype I would be able to create a kickstarter. The kickstarter and related social media campaign would allow me to test interest in the product while only having invested the cost of the prototype and time spent creating assets. I would use the community feedback to improve the product and web service.

Overall I think the project was successful at least in terms of developing my abilities, both in product design and in key business skills such as pitching. In terms of the product and business I believe I could take it further, creating a successful business.