I came across a very interesting Wired article this week (http://www.wired.com/2015/03/disney-magicband/), which talked about the new “MagicBand” Disney are using in their Orlando theme park. The band itself doesn’t seem to be doing anything particularly innovative, but the article stuck with me all the same.
The bracelet enables children and parents alike to have an even more unforgettable experience at Disney’s theme part, by removing the friction that comes with running a place that welcomes millions of people ever year. In essence, the bracelet has an RFIP chip in it that knows who and where you are in order to customize your experience and pre-empt your every desire. What stuck with me however, was the description of how the entire product worked. Instead of going overboard and piling everything technology could offer into the bracelet, Disney seems to have gotten the balance perfectly right. The bracelet itself is very understated (as in, doesn’t look overly futuristic) and its functionality is limited to exactly those areas it is most useful (providing you with more food, faster and getting you onto more rides in an enjoyable way). It is the first hardware product in a while that I have seen to have such great focus.
Learning from other “unusual” hardware
Another product which presents the same characteristics is one I have been using for a while now: my belt. Now, stay with me on this one as I, like everyone else I imagine, have been using belts for a long time of course. A few months ago however, I randomly bought a new belt online without giving it much though. It looked nice online and initially I didn’t think any more of it.
When it arrived however, I was really surprised by the lock mechanism (I should have noticed this before, but it was more of an impulse-buy :)). Instead of having to put the pin in the right hole, this belt came with a locking mechanism that was completely different (the only way I can describe it is the same way a rollercoaster works to keep the carts from moving backwards on a hill).
This means that
- The belt can be adjusted exactly to the size I want it to
- You don’t get the usual “wear and tear” of the holes in the belt
- It is a lot easier to close in general
It’s hard to think that a product as old as the belt can be improved upon, but they definitely did it 🙂
It’s not about the tech
On a day-to-day basis I am involved a lot more in digital products (actually, I’m almost exclusively involved with digital products). What i love about the two examples I provided however, is that they illustrate exactly what I consider to be “good product”. Although these products might not be purely digital, they are the result of an innovative, visionary approach that go beyond what most people look at whilst only providing the features they are actually good at. They think about the product from the right perspective: the user. They simply realise the goal of product development is not about producing the coolest and most avant-garde tech, it’s about producing the right tech
If you have any questions or simply want to point me to other examples of products (both digital and physical) you really like, please leave them in the comments below! 😛