Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ziba - The People Behind the S50 and Stiletto Design

September 21, 2006

An article about the team behind the design of the S50 and Stiletto

Article Excerpt:

Some in the design world, of course, barely bother with consumer research. Nike's designers, to take one example, don't have to study their market; they are their market, a bunch of hard-core triathlete types who essentially design for themselves. But in a commercial design shop such as Ziba's, where the variety of assignments is almost boundless--from cat litter to feminine-hygiene products to industrial winches--a design team must constantly learn to empathize with rarefied consumer subcultures.

So when Sirius Satellite Radio enlisted Ziba to fashion a handheld receiver (what would become the Sirius S50 and the new Stiletto, which was scheduled for a September launch), McCallion and his squad went in for a deep dive, spreading out across Portland, Boston, and Nashville to spend some quality time with 44 Sirius subscribers. They toured people's CD collections, hung out with them at Saturday afternoon tailgating parties, studied how they accessorized their cars, and got them to riff on why music matters to them. Then, back at Ziba's studios, the team spent weeks harvesting raw data, photographs, and field notes. McCallion edited the material down to a design target--the "iPod fatigued"--and assembled more-focused profiles of Sirius users, such as the "intelligent fan" (dialed into a wide range of sports; listens to the radio while attending Red Sox games) and the "business charismatic" (drives a BMW 5 Series; holds a platinum frequent-flier card).

Working from the profiles, McCallion crafted a positioning statement--"discovery, portability, personalization"--that drove the entire design process as Ziba tested and refined scores of prototypes. He knew the business charismatic was looking for a device that wouldn't detract from a car's interior, so he urged his designers to give the S50 and the Stiletto a simple, accessible interface. The intelligent fan was keen on portability, and by storyboarding scenarios for the S50, McCallion discovered that many people wanted to use it to record programming and play it back later. McCallion also pushed for the prominent media dial and a lustrous black finish, based on his conviction that both were powerfully reminiscent of "radio."

SSG readers can read the entire article HERE via Fast Company

9/21/2006 11:15:00 PM

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