One of the most difficult, as well as enriching, tasks faced by manufacturers is deciding what features to add or not add to new product. Do you throw in the kitchen sink or just offer the basics? A Swiss Army knife or a P38 can opener?
I know in our case we gather in groups to cuss and discuss this very subject and the conversation always comes back to two things: what features and functions are actually required to operate the gear and what cool things can it do? Of course, the list of cool things a product can do is an opportunity for people’s imaginations to soar, but sometimes, the realities of physics or budgets can squash some of those wild visions. Yet, those that survive often define a product in the customer’s eye.
When I dream of a new audio product it’s always as a user. I picture the entire process of operating the new gear, how I would interact with it, what the results would be, and how it would make me feel. As I am imagining using the new gear features naturally appear in my mind, like easy access to the vacuum tubes in BHK products, or a mute button on the remote. As simple or obvious as some of these features might seem, they came from imagining the use of equipment in my head.
Our designers all practice this imaginary use case. They dream of how it will be to fire up their new creations and play music. And it’s a good thing too.
It’s a heck of a lot easier to add or subtract imagined features than adding or removing them from a physical prototype.