The profusion of wireless networks is unleashing the potential of ubiquitous computing, connecting people and devices everywhere as never before. Communication itself must surely evolve, becoming easier and more enjoyable. Here's your invitation to join in: the mylo personal communicator. These four innovators have designed not just a new product, but a new communication style.
Tanaka:It was thrilling to work on the mylo. From the beginning, it was defined as a new Skype-based communication tool, but the other specs and applications we sought made it like starting with a blank page. An LCD screen and keyboard—that's all we started with, essentially. Those of us in design offered a steady flow of ideas, which kept it very interesting.
In my role in product design, I imagined how we could signal communication on the mylo with light. Sure, the screen also tells us the communication mode, but I wanted the very product design itself to reflect the fact that users are enjoying communication over a wireless network.
Exactly how and when the mylo would glow was still undecided, though. That's where we benefited from our interdisciplinary team of experts on the GUI, interaction, and other matters beyond the traditional boundaries of design. Every day, the new tool took shape as we brainstormed. It would be more enjoyable if we added this feature...In that case, this app would help...Then how about this interaction? One idea led to another.
It was more an exercise in integration than design. Our suggestions dealt more with product planning than turning a list of required specs into a product. At the time, it was probably very rare for designers to collaborate this way in product development. I've been in design a while, and it was certainly the first time for me. But without this arrangement, the ideas behind the mylo would never have seen the light of day.