Design in India is our vision to give a product a more design centric approach rather than using the conventional way of technological enhancements for every product. Design doesn’t only add a greater value to the final product or service, but is also tricky to replicate. That is why it's high time for India to transition from a Made in India to a Design in India strategy. Hamish Patel is the Chief Product Officer (CPO) at PLAY, an Indian consumer technology brand aiming to offer an array of state-of-the-art, trendy and futuristic smart wearables laced with aesthetic design and premium quality to the Gen Z and Millennial population. He is accountable for envisioning the end goal of the product and promoting it while also encouraging and uplifting others involved in the design process, marketing, manufacturing and selling process.
1. What process do you follow to design the look and feel of a headphone?
Considering that we’re a consumer centric company, we take feedback from the customers and the look and feel is mainly designed according to what a customer wants and the latest technology we can provide them in the form factor that’ll be comfortable for them. So we consider both form and function when it comes to deciding how a product should look.
2. Do you think the size and shape of a smartwatch dial makes a difference in the experience?
Not exactly, as we design the software of the wearable for the form factor. So if it’s a round dial or square dial, the UX and the software is customized based on that. Hence we have to make sure we provide optimal performance irrespective of shape and size. It’s also a personal preference. Some people go for a round dial and some like squares. So it is basically all on the customers, what they’re more comfortable with or what they prefer.
3. Who are specialists involved in the design process right from the scratch to the final product of a neckband
There are a lot of people involved in the design process of the product at multiple stages. A lot of teams are working simultaneously for product development. All the way from conceptualisation of the product where designers, sketch artists, mechanical designers, mechanical engineers, IT designers, etc, are involved in the early stage. We first sketch out the product and there’s a back and forth with focus groups to discuss which form factor is right and then we move to the next step where we do the mechanical design of the product, that is the 3D design. 3D design basically looks like the final product, so we get an idea of how it’ll look in the mature stage. Then it’s converted into a 3D mechanical design also known as CAD design, from which a 3D printed prototype is made. This is how the look and feel is designed. And then of course there’s a back and forth to improvise on that till we finalize the design. Parallely, there are other teams working on hardware design where we work on schematics and layouts, etc. There are different processes for PCP as well, where electronics and embedded engineers are involved. Once the PCP is made, there’s a team that prototypes the PCP and then the firmware team steps in to write the software for that PCP. Finally, it all comes together, the product is assembled and we make sure to fix all the parts, we do performance testing and performance enhancements on it. Then it goes to the production stage where tooling, scaling and packaging design is done, where different people from design and manufacturing are involved.
4. ANC vs IPX, if you could let go of one feature, which one would it be?
I think I’d let go of ANC, IPX is very crucial as it protects your device over a longer period from moisture and dust. ANC is a problem that can be solved passively as well using better design. So yes, definitely ANC.
5. Out of all the headphone features, which one’s your favourite ?
So I actually like the recently launched product, DUALPODS that has 2 different drivers operating at 2 different frequencies. Which allows us to give a very good performance across the frequency range. So yeah, that’s my favourite !
From the above answers, the key pointers to note is that, Design is commonly understood to be a transformative factor in society capable of functioning as a nation's primary engine of progress. It's high time for industries and businesses to recognise this and embrace design as an important part of the marketplace. We must continue to explore for entirely new areas wherein design can assist others and its benefits are still undiscovered. In an aim to get a long-term tactical advantage, both firms and organizations must seriously consider how to develop India's abilities as a world-class designer of tangible and intangible products. This is something that could only be accomplished through planning, not luck.