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Developing Alta Voces

Between 1997 and 1998, Apple dramatically re-evaluated its priorities. The release of the iMac marked a departure from pure functionality and a transition into holistic product experience. As Desmet and Hekkert describe in “Framework of Product Experience,” there are three general levels of human-product interaction. The aesthetic relates to sensory experience, the symbolic to assigned significance, and the emotional to appraised value. The iMac did not limit itself to the realm of practicality, instead appealing to consumers on all three experiential levels.

In the 17 years since, the tech industry has desperately tried to both keep up with and reframe consumer desires. The Alta Voces are an attempt to better respond to the aesthetic, symbolic, and emotional wants of the average consumer. The name, Alta Voces, is derived from the spanish translation of “speakers” which is “altavoces”. With the addition of a space between “alta” and “voces”, these words are translated back into English as “high voices”, representing the product’s utility.

Originality

The Alta Voces are original in the way they approach all three levels of human-product interaction. Aesthetically, they deviate from the chunky, piecemeal standard of contemporary headphones. By taking advantage of new means of production, such as 3D printing, the Alta Voces synthesize all physical elements into one seamless package. With smooth lines, delicate but durable feel, and superior sound system, the Alta Voces are an aesthetic delight.

From the effortlessly balanced packaging to the soft, organic design, the Alta Voces communicate strength and elegance. Typical box packaging hardly registers with consumers, and provides no sense of the product’s personality or tactile qualities. The Alta Voces packaging follows the gentle curves of the headphones and becomes a covetable object in and of itself.

Emotionally, the Alta Voces make the listening experience simpler for any user. No more wires, and no ill-fitting headbands. Further, the method of product allows the Alta Voces to be ergonomically tailored to any user.

Usefulness

Product appraisal is an inherently emotional process. Positive emotions draw consumers toward products they deem beneficial, and negative emotions push them away. The Alta Voces, with an integrated wireless form and superior sound, makes itself useful for both the casual user and the audiophile.

Desirability

The iMac’s soft curves and translucent colors allowed it to stand apart from the boxy beige standard. The Alta Voces similarly shift away from contemporary standards and investigate the productive application of aesthetic and symbolic elements. Productive application means taking advantage of the ways in which different consumer-product experience levels can feed into one another. An aesthetic reading may lead to a symbolic association and give rise to an emotional response, and vice versa. For example, the delicate spindles of the headband are aesthetically appealing in the way they branch and engulf the larger earpieces, but they are also useful for accurately sizing the headphones. It is the carefully considered balance between aesthetic, symbolic, and emotional elements that make the Alta Voces desirable.

“Shift, Sprint, Share, Play” are four words that were selected for the front of packaging to quickly communicate and elicit positively valenced emotional responses. More specifically, these words are derived from action dependent activities that would benefit from using speakers rather than headphones: shift = biking; sprint = running; share = sharing music with family/friends; play = playing music / colloquial term for having fun. Together, they embody the spirit and the function of Alta Voces.

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