Tag Archives: Design

Electrolux EKF7000 – The award winning coffee maker that beeps when the coffee is ready

Welcome to the Electolux EKF7000, the award-winning coffee maker! >>.

A coffee maker that beeps when the coffee is ready, how handy is that! Very handy you might think! That is what the product designers at Electrolux must have been thinking as well. They unfortunately forgot two little details:

1) The sound level of the beep cannot be adjusted (the default “beeps” are similar to a fire alarm)

2) There is no way to turn of the notification

The issue is obvious: think about the scenario of people living in an apartment building brewing coffee in the early morning while the rest of the family is still sleeping. As soon as the coffee is ready the whole family will wake up because of the fire alarm sound level beeps. So, you basically have three choices: 1) no more coffee in the morning, 2) wake up the family, 3) sell this machine and purchase a new one from a different brand and never look back to Electrolux again… a consumer might think: they disappointed me once, why would they not do it again !

This underlines that any new household product no matter how well designed should really be tested in normal environments by normal people. I am sure that at least this beep “feature” would have been removed to make the product better and usable.

Iittala – against throwawayism

Iittala paper shopping bag

The word “throwawayism” gives a little over 24000 hits on Google. Iittala has an opportunity to start owning this new made up word! Well, hopefully in the construction “against throwawayism”.

From the Iittala philosophy :

Have you noticed how easy it is, in our shopping-oriented world, to crowd your home with meaningless things? You find yourself with short-lived items that eventually cease to function, or go out of style. So they are thrown away, adding to the growing mountains of unusable rubbish on our planet, while you keep on shopping for new things.

I admire this approach and while many will argue that a really well designed product is by definition timeless (which I believe as well) it is so hard to actually live up to that. An interesting fact is that in pretty much every Finnish home you will find Iittala products and that is across all generations. In fact two of their popular “everyday drinking” lines Aino Aalto and Kartio have been around since 1932 and 1958 respectively.  They are simple in design and totally timeless.

Iittala found a very nice point of difference.I hope the make sure not to jeopardize this with more time sensitive products or by focussing on short term revenues. Stay true to the brand and brand philosophy.

Packaging designers… do not forget to do a real consumer test before going to production

With a little baby our porridge consumption has gone through the roof these days! We are using organic porridge from Elovena (Raisio).
The porridge comes in a box that according to the manufacturer is new and very easy to use (“Uusi helppo”). I sooo wished the packaging designers at Elovena would have done some real consumer testing. I do not mean testing in a lab or focus groups but testing with parents who are using this product in the morning. This is a potential scenario: alarm goes off in the morning, parents step half sleepy out of bed, grab a box of Elovena from the closet. Sip coffee, pour oat flakes in the measuring cup and then #%&¤/#”%” oat flakes all over the kitchen table! This is what has happened to me now a couple of times.

It is easy to explain though: take a look at the package. You need to open the lid which completely destroys the stability of the package (see the fold in the carton where my hand is).

So when pouring the flakes in the measuring cup you need to balance the pack well in your hand otherwise you simply have flakes all over the place. Another huge downside with this kind of package is that it is very slow to fill the measuring cup with the correct amount.

So please Elovena change your “super easy” organic package to your standard package. It is really much easier to use, especially in those early mornings!

You are of course invited to our home to do real consumer testing, just arrive early 🙂