Dissection: Motorolaa V70

There was no email to the author of this article on Core’s homepage so I am posting it here since one oversight somewhat annoyed me…

I thought the Dissection feature, new to Core, was very interesting look into the micro world of the design and development of the V70. Truly an impressive piece of engineering and an iconic design. But in the microscopic approach to the design the macro user experience is almost completely lost in the archaic UI.

The fact that the article does not mention this is a big oversight and is an example of why so many products on the market fall short on connecting with consumers on the emotional level. Holistic design includes all contact points with the consumer. We all know this as designers but this disconnect continues to perpetuate.

I was one of the first people to get a V70 (actually two) prior to launch a few years ago. I loved the physical phone but was embarrassed for my friends at Motorola because of the UI. I was told by Motorola that they could not change the UI and that it was designed 5 years prior. I thought to myself what UIs were like in 1996…. ??? How could that still be at all relevant???

It seemingly did well in the market. Imagine how well it would have sustained if it had a comparable innovation in UI.

So Nokia continues to make cheap housings… but they surround their products with content and stories and dominate the market…

I’m interested in the complexities of design in such electronic devices as well. Recently I was looking at a variety of cel-phones and cordless home phones. I was underwhelmed by nearly all the interfaces. I ended up buying a cordless phone that seemed like it had a good interface, but under real world usage it displayed many problems. These include poor mapping and confusing LCD to hardware button labels. Examining the interface and the company’s other products, I realized that despite the fact this was their high end product, they had utilized the basic interface of their lower end phones and stuffed features in to be displayed on the LCD. Sloppy!

Scott, is Iulius STILL at Motorola? didnt realize he did this design. and didnt know the UI was done in '96. iirc Luccaci went to Ziba out of school. graduated in '92 or '93. then to Motorola after. so he went from consulting firm to corporate and this was probably an early project of his in a new environment. not bad only 3, maybe 4 years out of school. thats something else to consider. and not like Interaction Design was on [most peoples] radar back then [since it was still emerging as a distinct discipline]. not much reference available.

and the author email is at the bottom. way down there.

(MT11010. that and 11020 have got to be most heavily used textures in the world!)

Hey Scott.

Yeah, it’s embarassing. Fortunately the v80 (successor to the v70) has the new Synergy 2 UI, which arguably has superior usability vs. the “gold standard” Nokia series 40 & 60. Some say the new UI has a distinctly “american” sensibility to it vs. some of the odd taskflows of the Nokia’s, or asian mfr’s.

Unfortunately the v80 is twice as thick and doesn’t have the tight “jewelry” feel of the 70… But you do get the cool lights, audio, camera, java and a cool “switchblade” actuator. Will it sell? Probably not.

The v70 was a failure in the marketplace… But that’s because the carriers wouldn’t sell it (I believe cost was the culprit.) Most people have never even seen a v70 to this day. If you carry one, you’re guaranteed to get comments from strangers.

The big challenge for the future is tightly integrating UI and ID into a seamless experience. New software methodologies should ultimately enable this, but we’re talking about a company with 75 years in the ME and EE domain!