Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Friday, August 17, 2007


The design process for the new Cocoon cellphone (that I was recently asked to assess) centred on the concept of simplexity - a new word to me which seems to sum up the role of modern marketing quite neatly.

Having passed the phone around amongst friends, it got good reviews for both the simplexity of its ergonomic design that allowed a large, tactile keypad within a relatively slimline phone and its various audiovisual features. The ability to read texts via an external LED is another example of simplifying the user experience though, in practice, it's something that will be perfected in the future.

However, simplexity should not be restricted to design and my feeling towards the phone has been tainted by the user instructions. It's not good enough to assume that you know how your users will act or, in this case, that they will play with the phone and work out how it works. Even the ultra intuitive Apple products are provided with good starter manuals that ensure enthusiasm never flags.

Here, the user is supplied with "A dinky little guide to starting up" which comprises 24 three inch square pages - far too much of which is about selling to the user and far too little about helping them get started. That might well be enough for the technophiles, while others may be prepared to slide a CD into their computer to access detailed information, but the whole point of instructions is that they exist to inform fully people who don't know or are not completely sure or who want to be told.

If you don't ensure that this happens, then it impacts the attitude to the product and the subsequent word of mouth so why risk it? It doesn't make sense. If you invest your skill and innovation in the design of a superior product then you should do the same in your instructions or all that effort has potentially been wasted. It's not just technological complexity that needs simplifying. A lot of thought has gone into creating this phone, more should have gone into what followed.


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