Nokia UI Concepts

The Nokia team asked us to look at the mobile phone and how it might change in the next 2-4 years, particularly how current young tech savvy people's needs will change as they grow older and their lives change focus. It was a short project so we had a highly intensive process, engaging in some guerilla user research, concept generation, prototyping, and finally some videos showing our concepts.

User Research

After being introduced to the topic by Nokia, we started out with a couple of days with rapid user research. We conducted some interviews and did some general observation in order to get a handle on people's attitudes towards their phones. This was to gain inspiration and insights in order to generate concepts for the brief. In addition to our own user research, we also cross-presented our findings with the other groups and gained larger insights from a wider range of people.

Industry Project @ CIID
2 weeks
Vinay Venkatraman (CIID), Nicholas Zambetti (IDEO) & Nokia Studio DXF
Tobias Toft, Kevin Cannon
User research, concept generation, Flash Lite prototyping, ui design, video editing

This project has been featured in FactCompany, Core77 and a finalist in the IxD10 student competition.

little word concept sketch

Key Focus Areas

After the user research phase, we generated our core question:

How might we make people value their phones more?

We found that most people see their phone as easily replaceable. The phone itself does not represent any other value than it's economical value; people don't have affection for their phones anymore. The result of this is that brand-loyalty is disappearing.

We decided to focus on 3 core areas in which to generate concepts that could make people value their phones more, both on functional and emotional levels:

1. Playfulness

People naturally play, fiddle, fidget, doodle with pens, pencils, cords, bottle labels, so why not allow that type of behaviour to exist in the phone itself, and in that way create certain habits around a specific phone type that only this model will cater for.

2. Staying Connected

We often communicate in non-verbal ways like winks, hugs and smiles. Yet phones really only allow calls or texts. How might we design phones that allow some kind of more subtle, non-verbal mode of communication, instead of only "active" communication such as texting or talking.

3. People Centric

We found out that the featurism around modern phones was actually getting in the way of it's core function: connecting people. So how can we make a phone focused more on the people you want to contact instead of it's features?

Concept Generation

Based on these insights and focus areas, we did a few rounds of brainstorming, idea generation, critiques and reviews and generated a range of different concepts.

Concept Videos

We prototyped some of these concepts quickly using Flash Lite so we could see how these things work in our hands. Once we could see and interact with the prototypes we developed the concepts more and created scenarios for how they would be used. We created three concept videos, shown here, at the end of the course.