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Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby yo » August 8th, 2016, 9:24 pm

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nice improvement with the backpack.

Apply that kind of design thinking to the bluetooth speaker itself.

Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby gmay3able » August 11th, 2016, 6:10 am

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yo wrote:nice improvement with the backpack.

Apply that kind of design thinking to the bluetooth speaker itself.


Thanks Michael! Here's a couple more sketches from the last few days. The last one is where I tried to apply more design thinking.

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Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby yo » August 11th, 2016, 9:42 pm

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I think you could push the design of the speaker further. Try doing 10-15 concepts on different forms.

Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby gmay3able » August 15th, 2016, 7:00 am

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yo wrote:I think you could push the design of the speaker further. Try doing 10-15 concepts on different forms.


Ok, sounds good! I will work towards 10-15 concepts, here are 1-6. I'm pretty new to marker work so I wanted to try practicing it on the first several.

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Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby yo » August 15th, 2016, 8:31 am

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How are you feeling about these? I see a few concepts that are already more interesting than where you were before. Nice work!

Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby gmay3able » August 15th, 2016, 2:57 pm

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Thanks Michael!

I feel like they all have pros and cons trading off portability and sound quality. I think I'm most drawn to concept 5 (the box with the clasp) because it's kind of an interesting experience of opening it and maybe being surprised by what's inside. Also, having a square face will benefit the sound quality by allowing a larger diameter speaker to fit and having it naturally on a slant pointing towards your ears.

I'm thinking of doing a few more concepts to push things and explore more and maybe something else may jump out!

Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby yo » August 15th, 2016, 3:04 pm

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I think one thing that worked about your original is that you could listen together or as separates, where a lot of these concepts seem to eliminate the ability to listen to them when put together. I think a lot of them are adaptable if you switched the materials.

One thing that did not work on the original was the discrete grille. It is too much the way an engineer would thing, the driver is here so this is where the grille is. Try making that grille go all the way around. Conversely, putting my engineering hat on, with that solution having a round design doesn't make sense because so much acoustic volume is wasted in the arcing grille.

Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby gmay3able » August 15th, 2016, 4:40 pm

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Those are some really helpful points! I will try to think more creatively about the grill surfacing and focus on making sure the speaker can play in both together and separate modes.

On some of those concepts I had been kicking around the idea of designing the speaker so that it would only play in stereo/separate mode to emphasize its difference from other bluetooth speakers, but designing out a useful feature of playing in a compact mode doesn't make any sense.

Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby gmay3able » August 18th, 2016, 6:57 am

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I've been working on a few concepts that would be able to play in both attached and separate mode. I think they're getting closer, it's so fun to see the different forms progress! I would never have thought to start here without the exploration.
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Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby yo » August 18th, 2016, 1:00 pm

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Nice progression Gerry. That is why it is so important to move beyond your first few concepts. Getting feedback is just one tool to get you out of your comfort zone. I like to look at products in all different industries and from all different time periods as well. Often there are similar problems that others have solved, even if in a totally unrelated product type, or in nature. Combine this with generating a target user and identifying the other products and experiences that this person values.

Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby gmay3able » August 19th, 2016, 10:51 am

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Thanks Michael, you're describing a lot product research points I hadn't of thought of before and they are some great lessons learned for me!

The latest concept is standing out to me as one I want to try to develop further. I'm going to work on choosing a target user and focusing some research into the next sketches of this concept.

Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby gmay3able » August 22nd, 2016, 8:00 am

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This weekend I did some research through pro audio blogs to see what a Musician and Audio Producer user would want out of a portable bluetooth speaker.

A little background: I started studying and learning design in 2013 but before that I spent a lot of my free time in college composing music and doing the audio production that goes into making a mixed and mastered track. I started thinking about this stereo bluetooth speaker idea after seeing all the time I spent carefully mixing individual instrument tracks across the stereo space go to waste on a portable bluetooth speaker with two speakers that were only 4 inches apart. Because of this, the sound that hits you ears is essentially monophonic and producers even use these bluetooth speakers to check their mono mixes. :)

Here is the ideal stereo speaker setup from a top view which maximizes the stereo space, instrument clarity, and immersion while listening to a track.
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With this target user in mind, I created a list of features from the research I did to help shape this concept going forward.

Portable Stereo Sound (two seperate speakers with the ability to attach together)
Aux input
Analog sound knob - tactile buttons
Control of the track (play/pause/rewind/ff/next song/previous song)
Flat EQ response (most bluetooth speakers are overly bassy)
Speaker stays in place on the table at full volume
Prioritize sound quality - it's ok if the product is a little larger and heavier than typical bluetooth speakers (musicians are used to hauling around really heavy gear because it sounds better)
Incorporate natural materials where possible


I did some sketches and overlays to incorporate more tactile controls into the latest form concept. I also sketched a quick scene showing the scale and how they would be used in stereo mode.
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Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby gmay3able » August 29th, 2016, 8:26 am

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Here are a few sketches I've been working on to explore some of the details. I started thinking about how the back of the speaker should look and wanted to arrange the ports in a logical way. Making the power button biggest and easy to find was most important and I put the AUX in port at the bottom so that the cord would be closest to the table when plugged in and in "stereo" mode.

I also worked on trying to explore different ways the speakers would interface together to allow for charging in "mono" mode. Both speakers will need batteries but it would be great to charge both of them by plugging in only one cord. I was thinking of using pogo pins to be able to electrically connect both batteries on the inside faces of the bottom TPU rubber grips. The bottom of each speaker half would have magnets embedded to make them easy to detach and connect.

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Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby yo » August 29th, 2016, 10:47 am

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Good explorations! I'd really design out the UI. With it split in two and in the position it is in it might be hard to press a button without accidentally spinning the volume. Also, in digital products, volume is typically a rocker or two snap domes. The potentiometer volume wheels are more expensive to make feel nice.

Re: Gmay3's Sketching Journey

Postby gmay3able » September 1st, 2016, 8:25 am

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Thank you! That's a good point about the buttons and accidental presses. I had been thinking that placing the wheel inside this curve was the only place it would be protected when the speaker is knocked over or tossed into a back pack. I was trying to shoot for the moon with the volume wheel but I can see where it would add challenge and cost to get right.

Over the last few days, I have been working on exploring different button layouts using all snap dome/micro switch style buttons.




The first concept puts the buttons flush with the outer housing edge and recesses the speaker grill to make space for them. Putting the buttons here might help the user grip the back of the speaker while pressing the buttons with their thumb. Since the grills are rectangular, there is some extra dead space around the speaker where the buttons wouldn't be in the way.
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The second concept allows the grill to be flush with the outer housing edge. I'm trying out a button style I've seen on some bluetooth speakers where the speaker grill/cloth is used as keypad membrane and thin plastic buttons are bonded on top to show the user where to press.
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The third concept makes use of the existing speaker housing edge and breaks it up into buttons. This edge would be closest to the user in both listening modes and should be easy to press since the buttons are close to the base.
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