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Exploring the Effect of Product Development Time Span on Product Paradigms Through Phones


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This article examines the effects of product development process durations on paradigms through desk phones and smartphones. Product paradigms are launched with radical innovations, being developed further with incremental innovations for optimization. It is argued that the technology and meaning of products change incrementally in the market pull innovations. It is stated that human-centered design studies bring the paradigms to the optimal point. However, the speed of the product development, when determined by the incremental innovations in technology, can have a negative impact on human-centered design studies. In this conceptual framework study, the evolutions of desk phones and smartphones are compared; it is observed that smartphones may not have benefited from human-centered design studies yet. It was concluded that rapid technological developments could shorten the product development processes and human-centered design studies could remain diminished, avoiding the paradigm to reach the optimum level.
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Manchester School of Art
Manchester Metropolitan University
02-05 September 2019
International Association of Societies of
Design Research Conference 2019
Exploring the Effect of Product Development Time Span
on Product Paradigms Through Phones
Eroğlu, Ilgım*a; Ekmekçioğlu, Denizb
a Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul, Turkey
b Ondokuz Mayıs University, Samsun, Turkey
This article examines the effects of product development process durations on paradigms
through desk phones and smartphones. Product paradigms are launched with radical
innovations, being developed further with incremental innovations for optimization. It is argued
that the technology and meaning of products change incrementally in the market pull
innovations. It is stated that human-centered design studies bring the paradigms to the
optimal point. However, the speed of the product development, when determined by the
incremental innovations in technology, can have a negative impact on human-centered
design studies. In this conceptual framework study, the evolutions of desk phones and
smartphones are compared; it is observed that smartphones may not have benefited from
human-centered design studies yet. It was concluded that rapid technological developments
could shorten the product development processes and human-centered design studies could
remain diminished, avoiding the paradigm to reach the optimum level.
Keywords innovation; incremental innovation; product development; human-centered
1 Introduction
With the improvements through both design and technology, products that perform a certain function
may face paradigm shifts in the course of time. Evolution and change of paradigms may be explored
through recent models in innovation to understand the effect of the product development process
durations on product forms.
Verganti (2009) investigates innovation within two axes; technology and meaning. Technology axis
refers to the technical changes in products, being in-line with the prior studies on innovation (Cooper
and Press, 1995; Trott, 1998). One major contribution of Verganti’s (2009) study is, he appreciates
design as an element of innovation; innovations in product meanings are the outcome of the design.
Each product development process can be assessed as an innovation, and radical or incremental
innovations may appear in the meaning axis, technology axis, or both.
The evolution of a product concept starts with radical innovation and reaches to a certain optimum
through incremental innovations (Norman and Verganti, 2014a). Incremental innovations occur
through human-centered design; it is also claimed that radical innovations do not emerge as a result
of human-centered design (Norman and Verganti, 2014a; Verganti, 2009). Therefore human-centered
designs are needed to take a product to its optimum.
In this study, the effect of product development time span on product paradigms is explored through
causal narratives of smartphones to argue if shorter product development times lead to
underdevelopment in product paradigms. The focus is put on industrial design and the meaning level,
and technological innovations and meaning driven innovations are evaluated separately. The aim of
this study is to form a conceptual framework to discuss if products that are mostly developed as a
result of incremental technological improvement may lack human-centered design efforts to reach an
optimum product form, which is more in line with users’ natural actions and expectations.
This study aims to discuss the topic on a conceptual level to illustrate the issue and build a ground for
upcoming theories on the subject (McGregor, 2017). Conceptual frameworks are valued as they
pointing out potential topics that can be explored in depth through an evaluation of existing theories
and studies, without presenting new data (Yadav, 2010). The topic is explained further through desk
phones and smartphones. They exemplify the effect of rapid incremental technology-push; they are
suitable to act as causal narratives, which help to clarify and explain further the topic through one or
two cases (McGregor, 2017).
2 Product innovation types and their effects on product paradigms
As mentioned before, recent studies on innovation acknowledge design as an innovation generator.
The emergence of a new product paradigm occurs with radical innovations. Here, radical innovations
of technology and meaning are evaluated separately, to be followed by incremental innovations of
both. As the innovation of meanings refers to minor changes in the form of the product (Verganti,
2009) and incremental technology innovations not necessarily address a change in the product form,
incremental innovation of technology is considered as a driving force for new form development.
An earlier example for identification of technology and design-related axes can be seen in the work of
Cagan and Vogel (2002); they define ‘style’ and ‘technology’ to differentiate product types. They also
define ergonomics as another aspect that only appears in breakthrough products that will
demonstrate high value in SET (style, ergonomics, technology) factors. Cagan and Vogel’s (2002)
work can be differentiated as they put more focus on usability and user expectations, while Norman
and Verganti (2014a) do not assess user orientation for breakthrough changes. Since the innovations
that are not solely user-centered are also in the scope of this study, Verganti’s model is considered.
There are four main innovation types that are defined by Verganti (2009). A technology-push
innovation constitutes a major change in technology, without a major change in the meaning and use
of a product; the transition from CRT TV's to LCD TV's is mentioned as a typical example (Norman
and Verganti, 2014a). A technology epiphany is the radical change of both technology and meaning,
such as the change in video games by the introduction of MEMS accelerators to trigger exercising
concept by Nintendo Wii (Dell’Era et. al., 2010). Lately named as meaning-driven innovation by
Norman and Verganti (2014a), the radical change in meaning with minor or no change in technology
can be observed in Alessi’s Family Follows Fiction product family (Verganti, 2009). Finally, market-pull
innovation addresses minor changes in meaning and technology with the human-centered design
being the major source of innovation (Norman and Verganti (2014a).
2.1 Effects of technology-driven radical innovations on product paradigms
As mentioned earlier, technology-driven radical innovations not necessarily have a major effect on
product meanings. Technology change in TV's did not immediately result with a meaning change
(Norman and Verganti, 2014a); even though new technology enabled a more compact solution with
wider screens that can be hanged on walls, TV’s were not repurposed for a while. However, physical
changes through a technology push innovation may cause alterations in product paradigm, leading to
a technology epiphany with the radical change of the product meaning.
In prior studies, the paradigm change is discussed on a communicational and semantic level;
introduction of microchips to products that serve for the functions of musical instruments, notebooks,
telephones and such, led to disappearing of communicational cues on these products, leading to a
paradigm loss (Bayrakçı, 2004). Unlike designing an electro guitar, designing a synthesizer became a
task of covering a black box and creating an interface between the user and the product, without
being led with visual cues of mechanical details (Bayrakçı, 2004). The paradigm loss here described
as a change in both technology and meaning.
A paradigm shift may also appear with a technology change appearing in products that are
considered as black boxes. Nintendo Wii employed MEMS accelerators to change the way the video
games are played; formerly players sat through play, but Wii guided them to a new meaning through
active involvement in movements required by the game (Verganti, 2011). Although the design
problem was still at the black box level, the designs of the control units completely changed as the
result of the new meaning.
Radical innovations in material technologies may also lead to new product meanings. Furniture
companies are known to have cooperation with material suppliers in an effort to create radically new
product meanings (Dell’Era and Verganti, 2007). Also, material suppliers seek for new product
meanings themselves in order to trigger alternative product forms in the industry that employ new
materials (Verganti and Öberg, 2013).
2.2 Effects of design-driven radical innovations on product paradigms
A meaning driven innovation changes the meaning of the product in a radical way, without a major
change in product technology. A typical example is Alessi’s Family Follows Fiction series. Even
though forms of dancing women, ducks and parrots were introduced to kitchenware (Verganti, 2008),
the main user-product interaction and communication followed the prior paradigms. The furniture
industry is also widely considered in meaning driven innovation studies; the introduction of innovative
forms and styles are considered as radical innovations through design (Dell’Era and Verganti, 2009);
however paradigms of furniture and their communications with users rarely changed.
Technology epiphanies combine radical changes in technology and meaning. Sometimes the
application of new technology may trigger the innovation. The introduction of mobile communication
technology led to the development of mobile phones that did not operate as former mechanical
phones, introducing a new paradigm. However, a radical change in meaning can also trigger the
employment of technologies that are known before. For instance, Nintendo and the electronics
industry, in general, were aware of accelerators; their inclusions to video game consoles were brought
about by the change of the product meaning (Verganti, 2009). Likely, smartphones with touchscreens
were developed as early as 1992 and marketed in 2000, the first smartphone to be mainly controlled
by a touchscreen was Apple’s iPhone being introduced in 2007 to change the mobile phone market
(Zapata et. al., 2015). The widespread integration of touchscreens to mobile phones may be due to
the meaning change, as iPhone redefined mobile phones as customizable products that can even be
turned into broadcasting devices with the help of applications.
It can be said that plain meaning driven innovations may not necessarily end up with paradigm shifts.
Even though Norman and Verganti (2014b) stress that meaning driven innovations occur through a
merger of two different product meanings, this may not affect the product paradigm; an example
would be the combination of meanings of toys and kitchenware in Family Follows Fiction, which
resulted with products that had familiar mechanisms and communication cues.
2.3 Effects of incremental innovations through human centered design
The human-centered design is claimed to be the driving force behind market pull innovation. Norman
and Verganti (2014a) state that incremental innovations bring every radical innovation to its most
developed level. Regarding the product paradigms, it can be said that human-centered design helps a
paradigm to reach its optimum level.
Norman and Verganti (2014a) evaluate this phenomenon with a hill climbing metaphor. A radical
innovation represents a starting point for a product concept; however, it is generally not the most
refined and debugged version. Writers compare the development of a product concept to a hill
climbing process; the initial product form is like a lower point on the hill and incremental innovations
always search for a higher point on the hill, leading the product to the top. The top of the hill is where
the product reaches its optimum level; any further search for another level on the same hill will lessen
the quality of the product, but another hill with a higher peak may be searched through another radical
innovation (Norman and Verganti, 2014a).
While prior literature defines incremental innovations basically as small improvements within a
product concept (Trott, 1998; Cooper and Press, 1995), Norman and Verganti (2014a) highlight the
importance of the subject with emphasizing human-centered design, which helps the product to reach
its absolute best version.
It can be said that through human-centered design, the communication between user and product
becomes more apparent in products with better fitting usability solutions for product paradigm. The
referred phenomenon is studied further through the example of desk phones in the following parts of
this study to discuss the subject.
3 Phones: comparing the basic functions in mechanical and electronic
In this part, desk phones and smartphones are evaluated through their basic functions to investigate
how well their paradigms adapt to users’ natural behaviors and expectations.
It is expected for a product paradigm to reach a point where the product and the user act at an
optimum communication level, where they are adapted to each other. This optimum communication
may not always be dictated by users; Norman (2005) points out that, users have the capacity to adapt
to new products. Therefore he claims that designers should consider the adaptation capacity of a
human, and not strictly follow their declared expectations (Norman, 2005). It may be claimed that both
users' and products' adaptations should be considered through the evolution of a product, as they
both have a potential for evolution to fit each other. Therefore, both users' and products' adaptation
capabilities are in the context of this study.
3.1 Evaluation of desk phones
The initial concepts for the desk phones appeared as early as 1876 (Bell, 1876). The device evidently
evolved over time to provide a better response to users’ needs and basic habits.
Figure 1. Alexander Graham Bell, Experimental Telephone 1876, Museums Victoria.
Bell's initial sketches for telephone illustrated devices with very large cones for mouthpiece and
receivers, with communication seemingly being one-sided (Mercer, 2006). Bell developed his model
further to be granted a patent for the product; as it can be expected, in his patent appeal he described
the technical infrastructure and affordances such as two-sided communication (Crompton, 2009).
The initial model for the telephone is presented in Figure 1. As it is shown, the device exposes much
of its technical details without providing clear data on how to make a call or where to talk. After the
initiation of the telephone, the design of the device began to transform; some typical designs
emerged, such as Butterstamp in 1878 (which combined receiver and transmitter into one unit), 3-Box
in 1882 and Candlestick in 1897 (Mercer, 2006). Figure 2 shows the basic principle for transmitters
and receivers for 3-Box and Candlestick phones; users hold the receiver to their ears while they have
to place their heads close to the main body of the phone in order to use the transmitter. Figure 2
shows a later example of such a principle; the numbers are placed on the device for making a call.
Figure 2. Wall Telephone - Automatic Residence Set, circa 1920 Museums Victoria.
The well-known desk phone paradigm appeared around 1928; a desk set that united the receiver and
transmitter with a handle (Mercer, 2006). The common proportions for this paradigm became popular
with the design "300" in 1937 (Mercer, 2006). Recent studies credit the model to George Renwick
Lum rather than Henry Dreyfuss, who is acknowledged as a consultant, and his style is stated as
being visible in the final product (Flinchum and Meyer, 2017). Dreyfuss is acknowledged for his
method of study, which is considered a very early example of ergonomics science and usability, as he
measured many people and work with users to find out what they actually did with phones (Mercer,
2006). Even though his actual role in refining the paradigm is discussed as there were similar designs
produced by other companies like Ericsson, there is plenty of evidence showing that his ergonomics
studies along with other designers played an important role for optimizing the product (Flinchum and
Meyer, 2017).
Telephone with buttons has been developed since the 1960s (Flinchum and Meyer, 2017); however,
the main ergonomic principles stay pretty much the same when making and ending a call is
A phone call with a classic desk phone paradigm starts with raising the handle. Raising the handle
has a direct relation with making a call, as users should bring the receiver close to their mouths and
transmitter to their ears in order to make a call. The handle between transmitter and receiver provides
a semantic clue about where and how to hold the part. The call is ended with bringing the handle to its
resting position on the device. Unlike initial examples of the telephone, the mainstream paradigm is
more in line with users' expectations and actions. As the aim of users who bring the headset to their
head would be to start a call, the activation of the telephone by raise of the headset is in line with
users' purpose. Again leaving the headset back on the device would only be done at the end of a call;
therefore deactivation of the phone also follows the same logic. Here, the opposite of action results in
reverse outcome; raising the headset is activation and setting down is deactivation. This kind of
logical relation between two actions is named as "natural and consistent mapping"; and keeping the
actions in line with users' natural behaviors (like placing the headset to head to make a call) is
referred as "mimic normal use" (Ruiz, et. al., 2011).
It can be inferred that the desk phone designs started with initial examples that emphasize
mechanical details on the product form. Later on, telephones were designed which communicate
better with users through more natural and logical actions for operation. Studies on the history of desk
phones suggest that human-centered design activities and ergonomics studies that were applied may
have helped the phone paradigm to reach an optimal level.
3.2 Evaluation of smartphones
As mentioned before, the touchscreen smartphone concept goes back to the beginning of the '90s,
and The IBM Simon is widely acknowledged as the first smartphone that has been marketed, which
is developed in 1992 and launched in 1993 (Buisson and Silberzahn, 2010; Gupta and Prinzinger,
2013). Today’s smartphone paradigm is based on Apple’s iPhone, which was launched in 1997, as
it’s claimed to be imitated by its competitors (Buisson and Silberzahn, 2010). However, it’s claimed
that a dominant design hasn’t emerged immediately, regarding the software and infrastructure
(Cecere et. al, 2015).
Modern smartphone design is dominated by a screen, where the graphics for applications that are
operated in the phone also appear. Since the screen is the basic interaction area, the communication
of the smartphone with the user through a screen is often discussed as a design problem. Most of the
time, visual references from tangible correspondences of applications are included in the visual
design, leading to criticisms about skeuomorphism (Page, 2014). In order to make interaction less
screen oriented and more physical on smartphones, some studies tested touch-less gesture controls
(Lu et. al., 2013), which are widely used in industries such as household, security, fitness, education
and so (Gavrilova et. al., 2018, Khan, 2018).
The studies for the usability of smartphones are important on many levels. As expected, it’s claimed
that using the controls that are suggested by users is important (Rauch, 2011), as users’ usability
perception affects their attitude towards smartphones (Shin, 2012). It may be difficult for designers to
apply standard usability principles, as there are many operating platforms for smart devices that
should be considered (Rauch, 2011; De Luca and Lindqvist, 2015). The software interface of a
smartphone is considered as the main medium for constructing meaning, being the core element for
usability (Folkmann, 2012). The studies about the usability of basic functions focus on software
commands and search for their physical equivalents. Studies show that to build a more inclusive
design, especially regarding the visually impaired people, physical references are needed as users
find it hard to spot the command areas on the screen (Mi et. al., 2014).
Since this paper focuses on the basic functions of a phone, answering and ending a phone call in a
smartphone is evaluated.
Figure 3. Answering a call in the last two versions of the Android operating system (Screenshots by author).
In Figure 3, two different answering tasks can be seen. The one on the left is from the previous
version of Android, while the one on the right is the recent version. The finger move to answer a call
has changed to sliding the finger to the up from sliding the finger to the right. Both of these
movements are versions of the original sliding move from the IOS system, and both of them are
commands that belong to the software paradigm; they have no relation to actual moves of a user who
answers a phone.
To make smartphones more usable for visually impaired, studies were done to understand the more
easy-to-remember and natural moves for basic phone tasks. Two of these studies derive similar
solutions from users to answer a phone; users find it natural to bring the smartphone to the ear for
answering a call (Dim and Ren, 2014).
There are also gesture controls that are assigned to smartphones by operating systems. Two
examples are shown in Figure 4 and Figure 5.
Figure 4. Screenshot of Gestures Beta (Microsoft Mobile).
Figure 4 shows options in Gestures Beta, an additional application by Microsoft Mobile for Nokia
Lumia smartphones, while Figure 5 shows Moto Actions that provide gesture controls for Motorola
smartphones. As can be seen from the figures, the same gesture of putting the phone face down can
serve for two different actions; eliminating the environment voices when listening to the caller through
the speaker in Lumia phones, and eliminating sound notifications during standby mode in Motorola
phones. Picking up a ringing phone silences the ringtone in Motorola smartphones, which can be
considered as “mimic normal use” as a ringtone is not necessary when someone is paying attention to
a ringing phone. Raising a ringing phone to ear results with answering the phone in Gestures Beta,
and this move is in line with the user expectations that are detected in the studies (Ruiz et. al., 2011;
Dim and Ren, 2014). Putting a phone face up to a surface during a call puts it in the speaker mode in
Gestures Beta while raising it back to ear mutes speaker; both of these actions can also be evaluated
as mimicking normal use.
Figure 5. Screenshot of Moto Actions (Screenshots by author).
Ending a call with gestures can be more complicated in smartphones, as removing the phone from
the ear is necessary for completing dialing tasks within some phone calls, such as speaking with
customer services. This is due to the fact that the dialing area is not separated from the receiver and
transmitter as it is in the desk phones. Some users suggest taking the phone from the ear and facing
it down to end a call, claiming that it mimics a desk phone; this type of analogies are labeled as “real-
world metaphors” (Ruiz et. al., 2011). In Dim and Rem (2014) study, visually impaired users
suggested putting the phone on any surface after removing it from the ear. Even though this
preference may interfere with a hands-free phone call, the suggested gesture is in line with “mimic
normal use” behavior.
To sum up, it can be said that current smartphones operate pretty much similar to the prior solutions.
The smartphone paradigm reached its dominant physical appearance through Apple iPhone; with the
dominant use of touchscreen technology, there was a radical innovation that can be named as a
technology epiphany. However, the upcoming incremental innovations did not bring many different
solutions to usability. Regarding the basic phone functions, answering and ending a phone call is
mainly done through software interfaces in smartphones and this tendency is in-line with the original
smartphone solution that dictates today's paradigm. However, some more natural gesture
alternatives, which are in line with user expectations, have been provided for answering a call through
additional applications. One of these provided solutions is in line with the "mimic normal use" gesture
type. Ending a phone call with a gesture is more complicated regarding the call tasks that require
dialing numbers, but users suggest "real-world metaphor" gestures to overcome the issue.
4 Comparing the basic functions in mechanical and electronic phones to
evaluate the effect of product development durations
The evolution of desk phones and smartphones are slightly different when triggers for innovation are
The desk phones' mechanical and electrical design has not changed much after the initiation of first
examples for the paradigm around the 1930's; however, infrastructure and production improvements
had some effect on the product (Mercer, 2006). On the other hand, smartphones are affected by the
improvements in electronic equipment, such as disc drives, which are considered as "fruit flies" of the
business world as their lifecycle is quite short (Christiensen, 1997). This results with shorter life cycles
for smartphones as mentioned by studies that focus on sustainability (Ylä-Mella et. al. 2015; Cox et.
al., 2013). Companies that compete in the consumer electronics industry by developing incremental
innovations declare that usability researches are not frequently conducted because of the short life
cycles (Eroğlu, 2019). Also, it is reported that very basic usability problems happen to occur in
consumer electronics products, as declared by their users (Kim and Christiaans, 2016). Short life
cycles and lack of usability in consumer electronics may address a lack of human-centered design
studies in smartphones.
Since desk phones took advantage of usability and ergonomics studies when finalizing the product
paradigm, their adaption to users' needs and natural behaviors when making a call can be linked to
the slower change in the technology. A slower change in technology enabled a more evident
emphasis in product design within market pull innovation, resulting in a better application of human-
centered design. On the other hand, smartphones as we know today has not faced a breakthrough
change in technology that affected the paradigm; however, they evolved through many incremental
changes that were pushed by technology upgrade, leading to shorter life cycles for the products
(Arthur, 2002, Entner, 2011).
Even though later models of desk phones and smartphones can be both considered as market pull
innovations, the effect of human-centered design differs in the two paradigms. Norman and Verganti
(2014a) place human-centered design at the hearth of market pull innovation, but it may be discussed
that technology-driven incremental innovations sometimes may hamper human-centered design
efforts. At this point, it may be helpful to discuss if constant incremental developments in the
technologies have a technology push innovation effect, even though they are not radical innovations.
However, the faster abandonment of the phones for up-to-date products suggests that users also
demand technology updates such as longer battery life, better screen, more internal memory and
such (Entner, 2011; Cox et. al., 2013).
It may be investigated if frequent technology driven incremental innovations hamper usability analysis
to avoid the product paradigm to reach its optimum level. As mentioned before, a product paradigm
first appears through radical innovations, which needs more developments in order to eliminate
problems in the original design (Norman and Verganti, 2014a). However, the lack of time in product
development may avoid the foundation of better solutions for a design problem. The cognitive effect
behind this phenomenon can be better understood through the literature on design fixation.
Studies on design fixation suggest that designers seem to repeat a solution for a design problem, if
they are exposed to it prior to the problem-solving process (Jansson and Smith, 1991. It is also stated
that expertise in an area may increase fixation tendency (Purcell and Gero, 1996; Björklund, 2013)
and industrial designers tend to get fixated on product forms (Cheng et. al., 2014). Within domain
analogies are formerly defined solutions to a design problem; they create a possibility of problem
fixation through semantic analogies (Moreno et. al., 2014). There are studies which suggest designers
are affected by existent solutions that are presented; many of them have a tendency to fixate on
visual examples rather than verbal explanations, even though the visual examples are inaccurate
(LeFevre and Dixon, 1986; Smith et. al., 1993; Chrysikou and Weisberg, 2005; Christiaans and Van
Andel, 1993). In order to diminish the fixation effect, several strategies are suggested. Some studies
suggest “forgetting” the problem by staying away for a while, which may decrease the fixation
occurrence (Kohn and Smith, 2009; Smith et. al, 2011). It is claimed that context change, therefore
staying away from factors that cause fixation is an effective method to avoid fixation (Smith and
Linsey, 2011). Moreno et. al. (2015) also state that having breaks or dealing with other tasks that are
irrelevant to the original problem may lead to disconnection and separation to avoid getting fixated on
exemplary solutions.
When desk phones and smartphones are compared regarding the improvements in usability, it can be
claimed that shorter life cycles may keep the product paradigm away from reaching its optimal level.
As the product development process become shorter, designers may have fewer opportunities to
conduct human-centered design studies and they may get more fixated to original solutions that had
formed in software design. Also, the shorter product development times may hamper their chance to
stay away from the design problem in order to create better or more original solutions, keeping
themselves from getting fixated to prior solutions.
5 Discussions
Literature suggests that new product concepts come out as a result of radical innovations, and they
reach their optimal level through human-centered design studies that occur in incremental innovation
processes. However, frequent incremental technological improvements can shorten the product life
cycle, resulting in diminished human-centered design practices. Although incremental improvements
in technology can be considered market-pull or even human centered in a way, human centered
design activities that concentrate on product meaning can have a significant effect on optimization of
the product paradigm.
When the cases of desk phones and smartphones are compared, it can be seen that desk phones
favored from ergonomics studies and usability researches. After the mainstream paradigm appeared
in 1928, ergonomics studies were conducted within the next 10 years to optimize the paradigm. The
final form of the paradigm fits users' natural movements when they make a phone call. On the other
hand, the current smartphone paradigm faced many incremental improvements on the technological
level, however, it lacked usability improvements. Smartphones did not face major form changes unlike
the desk phone did within the first 10 years after initiation in 1876, nor did they reach their optimal
ergonomics and usability level as the desk phones did through 1928-1937. The first 10 years of
smartphones may be considered as a fine-tuning period; however, this would mean that incremental
technological improvements should slow down at some level.
The incremental innovations in smartphone technology may or may not slow down in the near future.
Independently from upcoming developments, it can be said that technology-driven incremental
innovations' effect on market pull innovations should be discussed regarding the design input. The
current state of smartphone paradigm suggests that shorter product life cycle and product
development periods may hamper human-centered design studies. This may keep the product
paradigm from reaching its optimal level, as the human-product interaction and communication can
still be needed to refine. Therefore, in the market pull innovations, where both technology and
meaning evolve incrementally, attention may be given to the speed of technological improvements to
understanding the progress of usability of the product and evolution of the paradigm to its optimal
level. In Verganti’s (2009) model, incremental innovation in both meaning and technology results with
the human-centered design. However, in the case of smartphones, the actual designs today do not fit
with the preferences declared by users in several studies (Dim and Ren, 2014; Ruiz et al., 2011), and
the uses of the devices are not clear. Therefore, it may be worth investigating if incremental
innovations that are mainly driven by technology can be linked strictly with the human-centered
This study is limited to the evaluation of product development duration's effect on product paradigm
through the literature on innovation regarding the optimization of product contexts, and the main aim
of this paper is to initiate a discussion on the subject. The issue can be explored further with more
examples to understand the effect of technological improvements' speed on product life cycles and
specifically human-centered design, to understand the dynamics behind the optimization of a product
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Figure References
Figure 1. “Experimental Telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, 1876”, Museums Victoria., Date of reach: 16.09.2018.
Figure 2. “Wall Telephone - Automatic Residence Set, circa 1920”, Museums Victoria., Date of reach: 16.09.2018.
Figure 3. Author’s screenshot
Figure 4. “Gestures Beta”, Microsoft Mobile.
beta/9wzdncrcx3n9#, Date of reach: 19.09.2018.
Figure 5. Author’s screenshot
About the Authors:
Ilgım Eroğlu: She got her master’s degree in the field of industrial design in
2011 and PhD in 2016 at MSFAU. She currently works as a research
assistant at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. Research interests are design-
driven innovation, design management.
Deniz Ekmekçioğlu: He got his master’s degree in the field of industrial
design in 2012 at ITU and PhD in 2017 at MSFAU. He currently works as an
assistant professor in Ondokuz Mayıs University. Research interests are
social innovation, semantics, self-organizing systems.
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Full-text available
In this study, the relation between innovation that lead to innovation types and product identity integrity is investigated through a theoretical frame, which is briefly tested through Turkish television industry. There are many studies in literature that discuss design’s role in innovation. The differentiation of product design activities from technological improvements was also discussed before; however more recent studies conducted by Dell’Era and Verganti also discuss the visual language aspect and its contribution to product innovation. Even if many aspects of visual elements and their effect on perceived novelty are discussed, the overall outcomes of design-driven innovation on product identity and brand identity still need to be discussed. There is a prior study conducted by Dell’Era and Verganti (2007) that provide quantitative clues on the subject, but theoretical explanations and their evaluations on fieldworks are still needed. This study aims to provide theoretical explanations to product identity outcomes of certain innovation types. Literature on innovation, organizational creativity, and comparative studies on radical and incremental innovations are studied together with studies on product identity strategies to provide a relation between innovation types and product identity outcomes. The study supports the provided theoretical relations to a degree through a study that is conducted with three Turkish television producers, as cognitive and strategic factors that link radical innovation with integrated product identity can be identified. The results support prior studies that claim companies with radical innovation capabilities have more homogenous product identity. The outcomes can be developed further for developing product identity strategies.
Full-text available
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User-centred design and co-design are nowadays prevalent in product design. However, the number of product returns in consumer electronic industry is continuously increasing. Most complaints are not technical in nature but have to do with non-technical or ‘soft’ problems. Our study investigates these problems with electronic devices in relation to design properties, characteristics of users and their follow-up (re)actions. The results show that people massively complain about a large variety of products, from computers to e-book readers, and from washing machines to vacuum cleaners. Soft problems are the outcome of the interaction between user characteristics and design properties. Whether users take action upon their complaints also depend on their background. The results have to be translated into a design language.
Apples central business model has not changed since the companys emergence in the late 1980s. While being a leader in consumer electronics innovation, Apple has reliably produced proprietary hardware and software, which has provided the company a competitive advantage in gaining a share of any market into which they have ventured. Apple's strategic management decision to include non-PC products in its portfolio has thrived so far, driven by the success of the iPod, iPad, and iPhone. However, iPod sales have slowed. The iPhone is facing increased competition within the smartphone industry. The success or failure of Apple's latest creation, the iPad Mini, remains to be seen. The combination of these events begs the question: Will Apples existing and emerging product lines take it to the next level? This paper presents a synopsis of Apples current and emerging product lines as a means to predict the future direction of the company.
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