Skip to main content
March 29, 2010

Materials – Design by Community

1. IntroGLOBAL – Now that we have the size, shape and form factor in the bag it’s time to take a look at how this little beauty might feel. Materials is the focus of this week on Design by Community, and as ever, it’s much wider than you might imagine. Once again we’re only scratching the surface of what might be involved in the usual Nokia design process, but the kind folks who work on materials at Nokia gave us some good insights for this week’s sliders.

Kicking things off, there are a range of options on offer. From the more basic plastic or stainless steel we also have the more exotic composite and Liquid Metal at the top end. With the Design by Community concept we’re trying to create something ideal, but which yet has something exotic and aspirational about it. There’s no shortage of plastic devices, so we’ve put that as a pretty basic option. Metal is becoming increasingly popular, specially on the latest Nokia N97 Mini and top end Eseries devices. Composite and Liquid Metal though have only really been seen elsewhere on exotic low volume devices. Choosing those would make for a pretty cool product, but would also bring different challenges when it comes to manufacturing, not to mention the cost of the device. Which will you choose?

The finish of the device is vital for a concept to be successful. If a device doesn’t feel good in the hand, nobody will want to hold it. Does texture make a difference? Or should it be soft to touch? Polished is the alternative – what are the benefits to that over the other options? And more importantly, which one will you choose?

Colour is an interesting topic. Top end devices more often come available in a single colour choice. In this world of increasing customisation options, is that enough? Does our device on the outside need to be more personal, or is it enough to tweak the innards with new apps and features? What about having a custom colour option? It wouldn’t work for mass market devices (or could it?) but as an additional choice at the top of the tree? Does it matter, is it important enough? You decide.

Finally we’ve got durability. If you’ve watched the videos around Nokia’s reliability testing, or indeed owned a Nokia device you’ll be aware that the standard of reliability is pretty high. Most Nokia devices can withstand all sorts of abuse being thrown at them, but there have been a few that have gone beyond that. Super-strength, which is the alternative durability option, will create an entirely different class of device. We don’t have a defined list of what this could, or should include so let us know what you think in the comments below.

The start of each week is always a good time to pause and remember what we’re trying to do with Design by Community. The idea is simple, create a concept mobile device, where you make the choices on the key specs. Capturing the thoughts of tens of thousands of you isn’t easy though, so our slider system is designed to make it as smooth as possible. Sure, it’s up to us here on Conversations to come up with the topics, and decide which are top and which are bottom, but we’re relying on a degree of insight to ensure we do it to a degree which is useful. We’re also evolving the process based on the feedback we receive, so keep your thoughts and comments coming and we’ll include them wherever possible. For now, enjoy this week’s sliders.