At the end of each year, the Design Center will explore the design strategy for the next year. Led by PI TEAM, the exploration with the aid of cross-team cooperation will define the commonalities of different types of users and models of all segments, and map out the innovative opportunities and design directions.
Design Strategy - Design Tactics - Design Details
According to prices and performances, the notebook market was divided into nine blocks. After gaining an in-depth understanding of the 120 qualitative users’ interviews around the world, we identified the values continuously discussed in all blocks for exploring commonalities. Quantitative analysis and global product sales data were inserted into this model for verification. As a result, the three core values of price priority, mobility priority and performance priority were defined as design strategies.
Based on the three core values, after confirming the representative demand of each block, in combination with CMF Team’s color trend report and 520 identity theory, we induced two main users of different styles, and defined the external visual identities (color, type, and material) of the product and the internal personality identities (structure, experience, emotion) of the product as design tactics.
By refining the design tactics, the product was dismantled into dozens of elements. By formulating the specifications of each element, we established the commonality between the product itself and the product line for the teams responsible for all the product lines to further delve into the user data of a single product located in the block, in order to identify the key factors that had caused the user's pain points, and to produce the design details that truly met the user's needs.
Right orientation is one of the keys to the success of the product. If the orientation is wrong, you will never reach your goal despite painstaking efforts. To walk the right path, we should first find the immutable core values of users.
Everything starts with the users. Back to the origin of the user's purchase journey, after searching for the major comparison and review networks, we found that the prices and needs are always the two initial decisive choices when a person wants to buy a notebook computer. So we decided to use these two factors respectively as the horizontal and vertical axes on the comparison table.
And how to quantify the requirements? We found that based on the main purposes of using this computer: the Internet access, word processing, audio-video editing, graphic drawing, programs writing, and even 3D drawing and games playing, the original abstract requirements could be converted into display card specifications for classification. Finally, nine major product blocks were defined according to this classification.
Stage 1- Quantitative data probe
We put GfK-surveyed global sales data into the model for the analysis of the drop point distribution, and compared each block’s best-performing brand’s market share with our own products to find that ASUS was not bad in the regular price band, but in certain blocks it fell short of expectation. In order to identify possible problems with its stagnant sales, qualitative analysis was used to figure out the needs of users in every block.
Stage 2 - Qualitative analysis for in-depth study of users
According to the price and performance, the internally-interviewed 120 global quality users analysis data were placed in the nine major blocks by correspondence and specifically in certain cell of the table after we made a painstaking examination on the large-scale qualitative data according to personality, use, purchase motivation and future expectation. At the same time, different user researchers cross-studied each block and finally came out with the values that had been continuously discussed. Then we managed to obtain the union and difference existing between each cell’s commonalities and the blocks.
After continuous discussion and induction, we found three major core values quadrants, that is, the mobility priority, price priority and performance priority, and three mixed value groups between each core value.
Firstly, the mobility priority was analyzed. The representative users in this quadrant were high-level group with needs for only Internet access and Office operation. This group of users were typical digital nomads in need of high mobility and multi-site usage. From the conversation details in the user interviews and the integrated tables, we found that this group had prioritized lightness and thinness, and preferred to be different from others, extremely demanding details and the self-image.
In the price priority, the main representatives demanded low-level Internet access and Word process. The users in this quadrant were quite many and complicated covering 42% of all users as indicated in the GfK report. According to our findings, the five user groups of First Purchase, Senior, Lightweight, Deformed, and Chrome commonly prioritized prices though they were diverse in patterns. They would never make any purchase once the prices were higher than estimated. They had low demand on performance and liked good value for the money. They hoped to find the cheapest total solution. We also discovered that the female users in this group talked most about colors in the grid of 9 rectangles.
Finally, in the performance priority, the representative users, located in the upper right corner, demanded the high-end 3D professionalism, which could be clearly divided into game and non-game requirements, and could also be obviously divided into gaming and non-gaming looks. Top performance was the first priority for them. Some users even raved about lightweights but they would absolutely not compromise on the use experience.
Stage 3 – Hypothesis and verification of quantified sales data
In order to verify the representative demand hypotheses of each block, this stage required us to retrieve the sales volume of a single model for ranking, so that we might understand the characteristics of the benchmark products in each block, which elements were accepted by the market, and which structures were fit to be placed in the block. Take as an example the high-level group of users in the upper left corner who demanded Internet access and Office operation, we could see that the hero products in the front of the ranking could be roughly divided into two categories: Extreme lightweight and Innovative deformation. Once again, the inference of qualitative data was verified, which meant that any product to become a benchmark in the block were required to be the best in both quality and details. If it was not a structural innovation, it had to be a material innovation. It must be extremely lightweight and portable, and show the user’s personal characteristics.
The style is derived from the embodiment of life and the true style is born out of life experience which has been built upon thoughts, observations and attitudes accumulated when one faces how he leads a life since he is conscious of himself. ASUS's two major product lines, zen and vivo, represent two major styles. The CMF Team's color trend report has clearly categorized the attitudes expressed by the two styles. How to express the style in the product for the users to have a sense of identity with the brand was one of the key points of product identification management.
According to the Eye-Tracking data analysis, at different distances, the public's gaze will be attracted by specific design links, which are the large-scale color at 5 meters away, the interface configuration at 2 meters away and the detail shapes at 0 meter away. We defined this as 520 identity theory. Based on this theory, we combined the use requirements to define the external visual identity which included color, type, and material, and internal personality identity which included structure, experience, and emotion.
In addition to working with CMF Team to define two different tonal color identifications, PI Team has successfully promoted the ErgoLift and the four-sided narrow-frame innovatiive structure in the full notebook product line. In addition to the pointer-style posture to enhance brand recognition, ErgoLift has increased the comfort of typing and the ultimate experience seemingly without frames. We have combined the external and internal product identification elements and integrated them into a PI comparison table based on the two styles of vivo and zen as a design tactic. Thus, we created ASUS product identity.
As tiny things make a great thing, details make perfection. Details affect quality, embody taste, and show differences, thus, holding the key to success. Without attention to detail, no product can be successful. As for the details, we have defined them in two categories: the details of the product itself and the details the user really cares about.
For the details of the product itself, which belonged to the 520 identity theory of 0-meter distance, we disassembled them into dozens of elements such as KB, speaker, diamond cut, etc., and clearly defined the specifications of each element, so as to establish the commonality between the product itself and the product line.