Following up on the Jawbone + PSFK Connect Up contest where we asked designers from around the world to come up with concepts for the connected home of the future, we interviewed runners up Zemoga about their submission Neighbornet, their design process and how context in digital environments is the careful blend of UX and core idea.
What is your process for concepting new products, interactions or designs?
Our DNA is a hybrid of innovation, creativity and technology. We approach any new concept not only from a creatively-driven headspace, but also from a tangible technology-based, logical approach. We consider ourselves UX Jedi Masters. Every action, share, download, purchase or search builds brand value. We design and build digital environments that enable those contextual transactions. On the flipside, an experience, even when implemented well, is only as strong as the core idea that drives people to engage. Great ideas will inspire people to share and communicate around them.
How did you come up with the idea for this concept?
First we held what we call a SPARK! Session. This is where we identified the objectives and tried to really get to the core of the problem that PSFK and Jawbone were trying to solve. It was immediately obvious that all of the products featured in the FoHL exhibit had the potential to be a big game-changer in the way that people live and interact within their homes, however there wasn’t a singular device or overarching theme that tied them all together. It was important to us that we address that area of the problem first, and create a vehicle by which a user can engage with all of these products seamlessly. This led to the birth of the Neighbornet concept. From there, the ideas started pouring in on how each product could contribute to the overall experience.
Are there principles that you try to follow during your design process?
Aesthetics and design are of utmost importance, but UX and UI are paramount. Throughout our process we force ourselves to stop along the way and re-evaluate whether the “what” and “how” are aligned with the “why.” Being intimately familiar with the end-purpose of whatever it is we are creating is crucial throughout the design/development process.
What did you like about the products that your selected for your concept?
Once we landed on Neighbornet as a concept, the Jawbone products immediately jumped out, hit us over the head, and said, “Hey! This is exactly what we were made to do!” It was an instant no-brainer that 99% of the products in the FoHL exhibit, specifically the Jawbone products, fit perfectly within our framework of how we saw this concept ultimately coming to life.
What is important about human interaction or maintaining a natural tone as technology advances?
Humans can only do what humans can do. Humans will only do what they want to do. Creating technology that does not replace day-to-day human and consumer functions, but rather facilitates them and makes them easier is where success lies. People are, by nature, social beings, and the continual human element and interaction is vital to maintaining our identity as a species, but the path of least resistance to which we live our daily lives, will ultimately be the path that is taken 9 times out of 10 by most individuals.
What types of technologies would be helpful in the Future to further facilitate connected living?
As mentioned above, technologies that can seamlessly integrate themselves into our daily habits and rituals are the ones that will thrive in the long-term. Flashy, esoteric, or disjointed solutions are only a means to an end, and will eventually fizzle and disappear into the ether of the tech graveyard. People catch on way too quickly to put any stock into a product or idea that does not allow them to continue living in the same way they have been doing so, only easier.