Thoughts From The Nokia Digital Design Bootcamp

If you recall, Nokia India had organized a ‘Digital Design Bootcamp’ in Delhi two weeks ago and I was fortunate enough to be invited. The USP of this session was that this session would give us an opportunity to an insight into the behind the scene work that goes on to create that Nokia feel that we have grown so accustomed to and feel at home with.

Things kick-started with a discussion around Nokia’s Digital Design strategy, then moved to the story behind the icons, and then onto home screen personalization and ended with how gestures are changing the way be use devices. Here are some of the interesting points that Nokia’s designers touched upon in their keynotes.

Nikki Barton, the Head of Digital Design: Nokia’s Digital Design Strategy – Consumer insights and how Nokia brings them onto the mobile platform.

Nikki Barton

  • Nokia has four major design centers around the world – Beijing, LA, London and Helsinki. However a lot of time is spent in cities where products are launched so that they have a better understanding of what people want.
  • Nokia Design has 320 designers from 34 nationalities and multiple backgrounds – a diverse pool, again for more perspective.
  • The phone is always with you and almost has a conscience and can be very relevant to what you do. The idea is to make the Phone aware e.g. you go to a new city, the phone detects the change and updates the weather to display information relevant to you.
  • The focus is also on how design can help you discover.
  • The idea is to develop an unfinished experience – not unfinished because it doesn’t work, unfinished because the thought process is to let the consumer customize and personalise – It has to work out of the box, but you fill in the box.
  • The entire phone as a screen and the use of projectors in phone to overcome the small physical display size of the screen are things Nokia is actively looking at.

Robert Williams (Design Manager), Nokia Design Studio, London, UK – The Story Behind Icons.

Rob Williams

  • Signs and symbols have been around for many years, serve as a medium of communication across different languages.
  • The best part is when you do not notice signs and symbols, when they blend in.
  • When we design the icon, we look at basing it in the real world. It is more challenging when there is no real world object to identify with e.g. NFC.
  • The idea is for the icons to have cultural similarity so that people across 80 languages and 150 countries can easily identify with.
  • Think of icons as forming a global language.

Juliana Ferreira (Design Specialist, Interaction Design) – Home Screen Personalization: How People See Their Home Screen Differently.

Juliana Ferreira

  • Work on home screen development has been on for over 2 years now. First devices to benefit are the 5800 and the N97.
  • The design is carried out in phases – starts with observing people, then creating design concepts, these are then shared with real people.
  • Research is then carried on and the data collected with validated through an indepth research before we see then in real devices.
  • People have different needs and aspirations for the content they want to consume. However, their basic needs are similar e.g. all want battery indicators, time and date etc at a glance.
  • Widgets allow great glance-ability and are great for homescreen because of their easy customizability.
  • We then moved to a very engaging exercise where we created our own homescreens.

Younghee Jung (Senior Design Specialist) – Gestures: New Ways To Interact & Integrating The Same Into Nokia Interfaces.

Younghee Jung

  • We looked at some of the exercises that Nokia has done in order to understand what gestures people want.
  • When understanding what people want, they are asked to think of the gesture they want irrespective where the technology exists.
  • Gestures in one part of the world may not be appropriate globally.
  • We also had a discussion around some design concepts with comments from fellow bloggers ranging from weird to downright funny.
  • Nokia wants uniform common gestures across all Nokia devices, this will also help educate consumers about gestural inputs.
  • Next stage, open the doors for developers.
  • While there are not many highlights that I can put down as points here, Younghee’s presentation was probably the most enjoyable. The sheer amount of insight into how people think and react in her keynote was great food for thought. (I will have the video up soon so that you can see for yourself).

The Nokia Design Bootcamp, was probably one of the more enjoyable Nokia sessions that I’ve attended and the best part about it was the level of interaction that we achieved. What we had to say will not necessarily be incorporated across the Nokia Design language but it was great to see that here is a company at least willing to listen!

A huge thank you to Nokia India for the invitation and I hope this session was the first of many more interactive ones.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts From The Nokia Digital Design Bootcamp”

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