Industry: TherapyProject Nourished is an immersive dining platform designed to enhance and diversify the way of eating. The hardware as a service, which consists of a custom HMD, tableware, and API, is aimed at decoupling physical limitations of food and allowing food to expand its capabilities as a medium beyond its physiological and sustaining functions. The technologies allow participants to experience eating and drinking in a transformative way by altering vision, gustation, olfaction, audition and touch. Since the public launch, the project has amassed a huge number of followers and inspired hundreds of films, TV shows, books, products, projects, events, and research initiatives around the globe.
Industry: Consumer Packaged Goods Jinsoo and his team developed the first-ever smellable mobile game experience to help promote a microwavable popcorn brand. Poptopia game operates in tandem with Pop Dongle, a scent diffuser powered by 3.5mm audio jack. When the diffuser is mounted on a smartphone during gameplay, a player can swipe the virtual butter onto a kernel character to score a point while simultaneously triggering delicious, buttery popcorn scent, sounds, and haptic feedback.
Industry: Consumer ElectronicsThe goal of this project was to create a future vision of TV consumption in the next 5 to 20 years. A handful of both far-reaching and practical solutions were developed and then presented to the CEO to map out future investment strategy, appropriate revenue models, product roadmap, and the next consumer vision for CES 2019. Prior to concept development, an extensive knowledge base was created to understand the evolution of social behavior, attitude, perception, linguistics, media consumption, and technologies surrounding TV culture, living room space, home, and family. The team then developed five concepts that focused on AI, cloud, appliance integration, blockchain, and shared space. The research work included analyzing home architecture and interior, looking at the functional progression of home throughout history, identifying the culture code of TV based on trends, and moderating usability studies, testing concepts, interpreting key data from surveys, orchestrating focus groups, and performing secondary market research.
Industry: Mobile PaymentPrior to the introduction of mobile payment, a series of in-depth research and concept development were executed to identify product strategy for early market adoption as well as forecasting product evolution. The study consisted of general understanding of payment and wallet industries through secondary research and partaking in numerous ethnographic inquiries. One of tasks involved cataloging various contents and possessions in wallets from hundreds of participants and then using the data to understand the deeper cultural and functional significance of wallet in N. America. Other tasks included heuristic evaluation, where we interviewed the participants to understand how they use their wallet throughout the day for payment and non-payment-related tasks. The product strategy also included analyzing speed of transaction, ease of use, repeatability, and product perception. The team accurately predicted the evolution of UI from skeuomorphic to flat UI design in consumer digital products. Furthermore, the team was able to identify the most effective design language to communicate the utilities of mobile payment platform to the mass market.
Industry: Gaming MarketplacePrior to the release of Nintendo Switch and new 3DS models, the team was asked to optimize the eShop purchase experience that would streamline various disjointed systems (such as Nintendo.com e-commerce, Nintendo ID account management, My Nintendo loyalty program, Mii customizable avatar, and marketing content) within the Nintendo ecosystem. The product strategy, which consisted of system flow diagram, visualization of ecosystem, UX and feature recommendations, and technical specifications were presented and then implemented into product release. The eShop equipped with new purchase flow dramatically increased the number of view, download, and purchase of games—achieving industry’s top spot in the market for non-tangible digital platform and a huge increase in profit for Nintendo. Due to its successful implementation, the team’s strategy was eventually incorporated into the eShop for Nintendo Switch.
Industry: Digital Content MarketplaceThe team proposed and implemented a complete redesign of digital content marketplace for games, videos, music, and cloud storage. By combining in-home field research, heuristic evaluation, secondary research and competitive analysis, the team identified product weaknesses, brand strengths and high-ROI opportunities that provided meaningful advantages to consumers. During the project, the team defined a new product vision and ethos by identifying discrepancies between consumer’s perception of brand and its products, contradiction in traditional and aspirational values of brand, and duality that exists between materiality and immateriality. After identifying these irregular organizational structure and behavior that are reflected in various products, our team helped to create the most optimal product strategy for its cloud service. The team’s product, design, and organizational strategies were gradually implemented over the following decade—allowing Sony to return to top in the marketplace for its cloud services and electronics.
Industry: Sports & EntertainmentJinsoo and his product team designed a complete fan experience across mobile, TV, premium services, and live events. The team was able to drastically improve fan engagement as much as 500% by having a deep understanding of how American football fans consume information related to NFL and its tribal culture. The tasks required in defining fan experience were: gaining insights about the fans' emotional needs and motivations; designing with various types of public and private spaces in mind; improving usability, readability, and scannability of tabular, text-based, and visual data; providing next-gen stats based on real-time performance, movement, and biometrics gathered from stadium and wearable sensors.
Industry: Electric TransportationAs a part of the public unveiling of Nissan Leaf, the first electric vehicle to be sold in N. American market, Jinsoo and his team designed a strategic playbook to understand the consumer's mindset, increase adoption of electric vehicle, educate consumers about its benefits based on relevant context. Next, the team developed a series of consumer-centric mobile tools to help rationalize and visualize potential buyer's decision process at dealership without needing to interact with pushy salesperson. In tandem, another tool for salesperson was created to promote more transparency and build trust between the dealer and potential buyer—all while improving speed, efficiency, accuracy and ergonomics.
Industry: Foodservice & Payment
Jinsoo developed a customer experience and technical framework that significantly reduce numerous frictions and pain points during a drive-through order/pickup. The framework proposed a system of smartphone app, RFID tag placed on vehicle's dashboard, POS system, and cloud back-end to eliminate wait time, reduce number of transactions, accurately deliver order, and make order pickup via drive-through seamless. The system also allowed the restaurant to track customer's expected arrival, quality of service, order efficiency, and customer loyalty. Other work included heuristic evaluation and secondary research that helped the team identify pain points, top reasons for using drive-through, and top recommended improvements for the target age group.
Industry: TelecommunicationsAs a way to combat decreased market share, Jinsoo and his team revamped the way customers interact with Sprint that is more simple, authentic, engaging and visceral. First, customer assistive products were completely redesigned to drastically reduce the time it takes to consume complex wireless bill by providing clear data visualizations and simplified input. Second, the team created a tool for new, existing, and potential customers to easily compare and select various wireless plans based on heuristic evaluation. Third, the team designed a mTurk-based walkie-talkie-like service that dramatically reduces numerous followup calls and eliminates majority of customer calls. Fourth, the team streamlined and gamified family data allowance management tool so that parents can balance between their kids' screen time and budget without stress.
Industry: Online Multiplayer GamingA new dashboard framework for social media and mobile was created to encourage players to return to Call of Duty universe. The framework consists of standardized modules where player and community's activities and performance are customized and rotated for each player based on their engagement and player data from previous weeks.
Industry: Retail ShoppingJinsoo and his cross-collaboration team developed a mobile app that is designed with a specific goal of increasing customer retention, visits to retailer, and purchase per visit through digital social mediation. The mobile app encouraged moms to mimic their couponing behavior and incentivized them to discover and share coupons as social currency in their community. The user experience utilized pointification and several game mechanics to keep the customer engaged. The other priorities included minimizing time and steps required in using the QR-code-based coupon at physical checkout and integrating Target account and Target loyalty debit card.
Industry: Video Streaming ServiceDesigned and prototyped VOD apps for web, desktop, mobile, set-top box and social that augment DIRECTV viewing experience. Performed research on consumer behavior and trends to provide forecast on the future of content consumption. The team's research goals included understanding a systematic pattern and shift in social behavior that helped pinpoint the directionality of media consumption trend created by consumers. Other objectives included identifying the causes behind high subscription cancellation rate and introducing new products that will disrupt the marketplace while maintaining the traditional revenue model.
Industry: Mobile DeviceA series of usability tests based on user scenarios were conducted and then analyzed to identify varying levels of user pain points while using BlackBerry OS, Home Screen and mobile homepage. The result of the tests were identified and ranked based on five key attributes (efficiency, effort and simplicity; findability and visibility; consistency, memorability and recognition; time perception; and predictability and affordance). Through the visualization of qualitative and quantitative data gathered during the tests, product team was able to identify high-priority features as well as the time when the quality of experience is at its lowest. Other experiments included eye tracking and testing UI color combinations under various environmental conditions such as direct sunlight vs. shade to improve accessibility.
Industry: Pet Care
Despite owners' desires to include pets in their everyday activities, pets were not included in the digital experience prior to 2010. The Cat Cat Revolution is a digital game that allows both cats and humans to participate in play through a species-appropriate interface. The game applies Human-Computer Interaction principles to pets and casts pets as participants in the gaming experience. During the pilot study, pet owners characterized the game as a mutually positive experience, describing the game as a fun way to play. CCR explores the effects of including pets in the digital experience. This was a significant research that resulted in a whole new genre of pet products that offers digital mediation between an owner and their pet.
We are at an inflection point of a great transformation. Our society is beginning to experience an immense shift in the way people live, consume, and interact—as declared by UN in their 2030 agenda. How should one develop products for our future generations while promoting sustainable environment and wellbeing?Drawing from my personal reflection of designing “disruptive” products in the past eleven years, the most challenging aspects of product development has always been learning to unlearn existing notions and biases that I have acquired since I was a child. And this task seems to be getting incrementally difficult each year—as the shear volume of communication, the methods of dialogue, and the layers of interaction that all amount to the ever-increasing complexity in people's lives. Perhaps this process of effectively relearning based on a new set of conditions and then identifying a common thread may be the first step towards tackling these new challenges.The challenges also stem from an organizational level. I often hear from various product teams that they have hard time focusing on long-term goals due to investor relations and organizational standards. An unfortunate side effect—and perhaps irony—of this situation is that these practices often exacerbate societal problems at macro scale while solving another at individual level for the sake of personal convenience, emotional enhancement, etc. Just by observing negative news stories and tweets alone, we can pinpoint countless products where the needs were solely focused on organization or even specific group of individuals without factoring in a variety of external influences and implications. This is an unproductive strategy that will ultimately damage both organizations and people in a long run.Donella H. Meadows emphasizes the importance of perspective and scale in the book, Thinking in Systems: "There are no separate systems. The world is a continuum. Where to draw a boundary around a system depends on the purpose of the discussion."Thus, I propose a method that strives balance between the rapidly changing needs of people and demanding economics in the age of hyperconnected world. Just as our world surrounded by technology is in a constant state of influx, motion and entropy, a set of agents, objects, and environments related to a product or service must be constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed into a model that encompasses product vision, attributes, and ethos.This method, a derivative of Systems Thinking, combines ontology and object-oriented approach to extend the boundary of problem solving beyond human-centered design. In other words, it offers deeper understanding of relationships between entities whether material or immaterial. However, the ontological perspective takes a step further by stating that all beings including human, semi-human (e.g., cyborg), and non-human (e.g., artificial intelligence, robots, animals, plants, bacteria, etc.) bear some level of intrinsic value. Based on this assumption, the proposed method provide a collection of perspectives, tools, and exercises that help identify and restructure critical roles, attributes, functions, and hierarchies.The method is also designed to accomplish these team objectives: First, it will allow the team to identify problems that are largely unrecognized or appear ubiquitous. Second, it will help the team to deconstruct complex problems into smaller parts and then decipher them through speculation and research. Third, it will help uncover many hidden implications of a product or service in our society prior to its release. Fourth, it will allow the team to build empathy by understanding relevant culture, philosophy, politics, history, and emotion.Contrary to these objectives, a scandal in 2018 involving Cambridge Analytica triggered 87 million Facebook users to distrust the platform and initially cost the company $134B in value. The collateral damage could have been reduced or even avoided if the organization had properly defined the intended relationship, ethos, and boundaries of their product during its growth.While the attitude of "let's just build it and see what it happens" may be functionally relevant in early stage of startup, this was a lesson that organizations in growth and mature stages mustn't follow such practice blindly. This has also demonstrated publicly that technological determinism is flawed and technology alone should not become a sole proprietor in the society.The process of attaining this sort of realization early on is what Systems Thinking strives to accomplish. I think this is particularly relevant in our current period of postmodernism, where the public has become hypersensitive to consequences of technologies and economics. All things considered, Systems Thinking and the proposed methods are important organizational tools that deduce complexity, improve understanding, and increase relevance; all while minimizing the risk of unintended harm to the society.