Product Design: Corona Edition

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Some aspects of product design have changed as the global pandemic entered the equation. Designers quickly whipped up new PPE, mental health apps, and virtual learning platforms. The difference between what makes a product good vs great is still the constant. Good products create habits, are easy to learn, and are responsibly made. Great products have all of this and more. They can inspire nostalgia, emotions, and connection. From Facetiming family to wearing face masks, no one knew these products would become apart of their daily routines and habits in a crisis.

December 2019

My cell phone is usually within arm's reach and something I feel I can not live without. Flashback to a “normal” morning: I reach over to my bedside table to quickly check my phone for emails and scroll through social media. I eat breakfast with my boyfriend and we say our goodbyes. As I lock the front door I go through the brain battle of “phone, wallet, water-bottle, keys…wait did I grab my phone?”, a quick checklist on my phone for that day has the answer. The GPS is set to take me to work, avoiding tolls, and Spotify is ready to start the day with Daily Mix 5.

March 2020

Doom scrolling social media and the news? Check. Unemployed? Check. Using my phone more than ever? Check. At this point, I am addicted to my phone. I go on a social media break, pick up home hobbies like baking and drawing. During this break, I began to be attracted to different products. Books, baking, and art supplies, even mental health apps. I am attracted to products that will help better myself and take my mind off of the virus.

November 2020

Home has taken on a whole new meaning. I am changing careers and taking classes online, at home. I am attracted to online learning because I want to be remote but still have a sense of community. Designlab offers courses and an online community through Slack. I start using innovative products like Zoom and Figma to communicate and create, at home. I do yoga in my living room while watching virtual classes. I draw on a tablet to create cheerful art in dark times. All of these products are apart of my daily routine, for better or worse, they solve problems like direction, communication, and even memory.

Photo by Ben Collins on Unsplash

How will the pandemic continue to shape what we want in products? Sustainably made? Small business owned? Hygienic? Handsfree? Virtual? I hope to take this experience with me as a designer to create useful, useable, desirable, and sustainable products in the future.

(Write-up for Designlab UXA assignment)

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