Delightful Innovations

To any Apple Mac owners out there: have you ever considered the small joy that comes from plugging your magnetic charger in, that little pull as it clasps in place? I now do, regularly. Firstly, because back in the Dark Ages – when the Mac plugs were the type to push in – I one time unwittingly broke my Mac by tripping over the cord, which rather than just tug the cord out, it pulled the entire computer to the floor in a giant crash.

Now, two Mac versions later, I get to experience that little click of the magnetic charger and safely know that any clumsy behaviour will just see the charger fly out, rather than my laptop flying to the floor.

Secondly – and perhaps most importantly – I appreciate the magnetic pull of the Macbook charger because it feels satisfying, and it adds a little joy into my daily routine.

At Forster Inc, we believe that good design should not only look pretty, but it should work for the user, too.  Even better if the product is designed to be a ‘delightful innovation.’  The official term for this, as I learned recently, is called ‘The Kano Model:” developed by Professor Noriaki Kano in the 1980’s, this model is a way of understanding and categorising products by customer satisfaction.

In a nutshell, a product reaches the best levels of satisfaction if it not only performs well but it also incorporates little enjoyable features (like that satisfying magnetic tug), too.

Another great example? Citymapper beams us to our destinations via teleportation, or it allows us to fly across the city via jetpack.  These playful options move a product design from simply well-designed to something that is delightful.

The HotBox “HB-two”, designed in collaboration with Forster Inc, also incorporates elements of “small delights,” something that was very important to us when we designed it. When we considered what type of closing mechanism it should have, rather than have a simple clasp, we took a page from Apple and incorporated that oh-so-satisfying magnetic pull and click sound as you open and lock the cover.

The design also allows you to move internal compartments around depending on your needs, each section slotting into place in that “delightful” way.  Even the cover – a soft fabric material which comes in a variety of colours for the user to choose from – enhances the experience, using texture and colour to engage touch and sight. These are the things that help move a design from just a product to become a ‘delightful innovation.’

What are your favourite examples of a delightful innovation? Do you love the Apple Mac charger, or the HB-two, as much as we do?