From 3C Products to Pixels to Plastic

Learn more

A great three part series by Matt Web, this guy must have steam coming out of his ears from his brain spinning so fast. (I, on the other hand, will just cut and paste a bunch of quotes)

3C products

Gen C make their own content. Gen C form strong communities, and care about communication. They want to be connected. Gen C take on broadcast media on their own terms: They get involved, and are happy to make their own celebrities. Gen C control their own lives; they’re happy with complexity and continuous partial attention. Gen C work and live creativity: they work in creative industries, don’t look down on making and crafting, and want to adapt mass market products in acts of co-creation.

There’s a growing community on the internet that realises it is able to easily create new services, and swap ideas and expertise. The realisation is spreading to physical things: Craft and microelectronics are growing in popularity; clothes and home furnishings can be home-made and look professional.—3C Products

The life of products

Products are not nouns but verbs. A product designed as a noun will sit passively in a home, an office, or pocket. It will likely have a focus on aesthetics, and a list of functions clearly bulleted in the manual… but that’s it.

At a more conceptual level, the peer relationships Generation C expects mean that the traditional do-as-you’re-told products are inappropriate: A brand that says “I’m cool, associate with me” or “You can be a great runner too” can feel condescending or trite. Gen C likes to be involved in conversations–products should express their brand through the experience. The brand, the stories, the interactions: These are all part of the product.

It’s important to consider the owner and all the people they encounter as the “user” for any particular product. No design surface is out of scope: Aesthetics, online social software, embedded displays, the billing and vending processes, and more.—The life of products

Experience hooks

The human brain is an incredible thing. It’s a carrier bag of thoughts and emotions, stored by association and popped to the top by association too. Advertising, through whatever medium, can be used to feed in stories that’ll come to the surface when the appropriate experience hook is encountered. Or it can use the memory of a particular experience hook to show what the brand cares about.

What these have in common is interactivity and lack of explicit rules (you use play and experimentation, not instruction manuals, to find your way around Nintendo games, Amazon, and Macs).

Not only is there opportunity with physical things, there’s an imperative. Just as manufacturing techniques are becoming shorter-run and more accessible to individuals and small companies, the knowledge of how to use these techniques is becoming more available. People are learning how to use 3D software using free tools such as Google Sketchup, and stepping more easily to professional software, previously reserved for expert product designers. The communities gathering around actuators, electronics and microcontrollers are infected with the internet sensibility, fully aware of the social worlds their technology will inhabit. And as Instructables shows, they’re sharers through-and-through. Not only this, but the net has put logistics, vending and distribution channels at our fingertips.—Experience hooks