Design Desirability: Homework 1

1. nest thermostats


nest is one of the first companies who created a thermostat that focused on design, which is successful for multiple reasons. Firstly, it’s easy and intuitive to use. The user simply has to rotate the body to adjust the temperature, similar to a volume dial on a stereo. The numerical value of the temperature is prominently displayed in the middle of the screen.  Secondly, there’s a satisfying clicking noise when one rotates the temperature – inspired by the Apple iPod. Small detail, I know, but for some reason it works. Thirdly, its body is sleek and sexy, almost like a badge on the wall instead of a white box trying to blend in.  Overall, I think the key reason nest is successful is because the user feels a sense of “cool” from having and using the thermostat. When they rotate the dial, it’s a simple but enjoyable experience that yields an important result, and leaves the user wanting to use it more.

2. Virgin Atlantic

Everyone loves flying Virgin Atlantic. When you first walk into the airplane, you notice the red glow (though it’s hard to find the actual lights, which only heightens the intrigue), making you feel like you’re walking into an exclusive lounge. You feel like you’ve left the airport and entered a whole new world. Upon arriving on your assigned seat, you notice a “feel good pack” sitting neatly across the seatbelts. Instead of the regular airplane essentials jammed together in plastic shrink-wrap, Virgin Atlantic provides its unique brand of products. Everything is red, including the bag, and the eyeshades have various glasses printed on the outside, adding a fun twist. Even the safety video is done differently, with entertaining animations and humor. Everything about Virgin America aims to engage you. You’re able to sense the personality of the company through its design (and most of us like it!).

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Student Information

Name: Stephanie Liu

Email: stephanieliu@college.harvard.edu

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