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'[EE] Industrial design of electronics product'
2005\10\05@091349 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
Comeptition is really very hard and now the electronics product manufacturers
need to consider more about industrial design for the product --> how to make
the product sexier and more apealing to customers.

Apple IPOD is an example. My brother works for Creative Technology
(it is called Creative Labs in the States). He is mostly developing sound
card software applications, including the latest X-Fi modes
(http://www.anandtech.com/multimedia/showdoc.aspx?i=2518&p=5).
He is very worried about the fact Creative loses big money in MP3 players
which offsets all the profits from sound cards and speakers. And he thinks
that the only problem with Creative MP3s is the outlook.

Creative MP3s have superior sound quality and their later product is
also not so bad looking as the old and ugly Nomads. However IPOD
is simply beating them very badly. Apple is very good at industrial
designs and so it wins. With IPOD nano coming out, I think it is
even harder for Creative to compete with Apple even though Creative
actually used the name Nano (Zen Nano) earlier than Apple.

This is in the consumer electronics arena. However it is similar in
other sectors as well. Even our product managers are urging us
to look into industrial design. And our product is not used in
industrial applications: machines, packaging industry and
door-gate-elevators.

Regards,
Xiaofan

2005\10\05@210710 by Martin Klingensmith

flavicon
face
Is the "industrial" design defined as minimal, uncluttered?
I think most designs could benefit from this as it makes things less
complicated. I believe it really is a "zen" thing, though I don't know
if I'm qualified to use that word :)
Minimalist artistic design (as I would call the "industrial" design)
makes things appear monolithic and superior, though they may not be
functionally.
The design of the iPod is nice imo. The one problem is that the
polycarbonate front scratches VERY easily. Other than that I enjoy it
very much.

I don't see how the "industrial" design fits your applications though
because it would probably make things more expensive to manufacture,
would it not?
[drifting away from Apple...]
I believe the industrial design stretches to how devices operate as
well. The most direct and efficient [for the user!] method should be
taken. It can be hard for engineers to think like the typical user but
it is the only way to make things nice to use.
[back to Apple]
I believe they left out some nice possible features to make the iPod
easy enough for the typical user.
--
Martin K

Xiaofan Chen wrote:

{Quote hidden}

--
Martin Klingensmith
http://wwia.org/
http://nnytech.net/

2005\10\05@214415 by David Van Horn

picon face


Industrial design is something that should be more widely taught in
engineering courses.

My favorite book on the subject is "Turn Signals are the Facial
Expressions of Automobiles". (Yes, that's the real title)

"Things that make us smart" and "Emotional design" are also good.

Affordances are a good example:
What's on top of your washing machine and dryer?
If they are front-loaders, then I imagine there may be a fair amount of
"junque" piled on top.  The manual of course tells you that you
shouldn't pile anything there, but the large flat surface creates an
affordance for piling junk on top.




2005\10\05@222605 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
My washing machine is front-loaded type (European brand) and
indeed there are lots of stuff on top. What is the problem?
They seems to be much more rugged than the top loaded
model from Japanese/Korea vendors. I have not yet read
the manual to be honest because it works right out of the
box.

Regards,
Xiaofan


{Original Message removed}

2005\10\05@224710 by Bob Liesenfeld

flavicon
face


David Van Horn wrote:

> Industrial design is something that should be more widely taught in
> engineering courses.
>
> My favorite book on the subject is "Turn Signals are the Facial
> Expressions of Automobiles". (Yes, that's the real title)

 I looked up this book on Amazon and read a couple of the reviews posted
there.  It brought back to mind an incident from several years ago.
 I was on an advisory committee for the electronic tech school I attended,
and taught at for a while.  At one of the meetings the dean was pleading
with us then working in industry to tell them what they should be
teaching.  I piped up with the notion that they should start incorporating
some ergonomic theory so their grads would have some idea of how to design
equipment that could be >used< effectively.  All the suits at the table
just stared uncomprehendingly at me.  I thought I heard a cricket in the
room......  Finally one of them said something like "Oh..........yeah...."
and went on to something else.
 Sad to say that school is now down to 3 instructors and will be history
by spring.  :(

Some people just don't get it....never will.

Bob



2005\10\05@225026 by David Van Horn

picon face


> -----Original Message-----
> From: spam_OUTpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu] On
Behalf
{Quote hidden}

Just an example of affordances.
Some of the newer models I've seen have ROUNDED tops, which are not
conducive to piling.

They also talk about door handles, some are push, some are pull, and
some are ambiguous.  They illustrate the use of the wrong sort and the
comical attempts to fix it with signs.




2005\10\05@231341 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 08:49 PM 10/5/2005 -0500, you wrote:


>Industrial design is something that should be more widely taught in
>engineering courses.

I think Industrial design might be close to orthogonal to regular
engineering.
Maybe it's easier for a skilled artist to learn the basics of molded part
design and mechanical engineering than it would be for a mech eng to go the
other way. According to US Dept of Labor stats, there are about 52,000
commercial and industrial designers in the US. Guessing that 10% of those
would have something to do with electronics, and that 20% of them would be
any good at it (Pareto's Principle), we have around 100 good electronics-
oriented industrial designers in the whole US.

Hong Kong is an interesting example of a place that lives from design of
mass-produced consumer items. The government there has placed an emphasis
on design, in the correct realization that the difference in value between
a product perceived as "cheap" and one that is "cool" often boils down to
design and implementation of that design (feel, fit and finish and that sort
of thing). The former requires good industrial design, the latter good
engineering, top-notch tool and die makers, all working with modern CNC
equipment and CAD/CAM software. There is a permanent Design Gallery display
of products on display in the Wanchai Convention Centre that's well worth
checking out the next time you find yourself in the former colony.

I do see the "cool looking" designs with that d*mn compound curves and other
hard-to-design features migrating out to things like DIN-mount
cases (not only are they industrial in application, but they get mounted
on hidden panels surrounded by wire troughs!). Consumer items set a very
high standard. IIRC, the designer of the case for the orignal Apple Mac
was paid a small fortune for that era to do that work. Another example
of excellent design is the Miata. Both were designed in California.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
speffspamKILLspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com
->> Inexpensive test equipment & parts http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZspeff


2005\10\06@014403 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
I think we have yet to understand Industrial Design very well.
Therefore our product managers are using the word "sexier".

It will of course make the end product slightly higher but
it is after all still a German brand (read reliable but expensive).
For example, we need to partially pain the black housing green
(black is good for optic sensors) to reflect the Corporate
Image of green and the marketing slogan  "P+F is green".

Regards,
Xiaofan

----------------------------------------------
Xiaofan Chen
R&D Engineer, Photoelectric Sensor Development
Pepperl+Fuchs Singapore
http://www.pepperl-fuchs.com
Signals for the world of automation
--------------------------------------------

{Original Message removed}

2005\10\06@041702 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>I think Industrial design might be close to orthogonal
>to regular engineering.
>Maybe it's easier for a skilled artist to learn the
>basics of molded part design and mechanical engineering
>than it would be for a mech eng to go the other way.

We seem to have a bunch of engineers/scientists who can design something in
Pro Engineer and dismantle it on the screen 3D model, but the thing is
potentially not assemblable in real life because of the way they have
designed bits to interlink.

2005\10\06@061833 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 09:16 AM 10/6/2005 +0100, you wrote:
> >I think Industrial design might be close to orthogonal
> >to regular engineering.
> >Maybe it's easier for a skilled artist to learn the
> >basics of molded part design and mechanical engineering
> >than it would be for a mech eng to go the other way.
>
>We seem to have a bunch of engineers/scientists who can design something in
>Pro Engineer and dismantle it on the screen 3D model, but the thing is
>potentially not assemblable in real life because of the way they have
>designed bits to interlink.

Good point-- one can be really, really good at 2D + time circuit
analysis and design, yet pretty mediocre at 3D design, especially
where multiple irregular 3D parts interact. But a good mech eng should
have that ability. Plastic injection molds have some aspects (slides and
similar devices, lack of undercuts in the part in most cases, a minimum
amount of draft) that not everyone finds easy to visualize.

>Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
.....speffKILLspamspam.....interlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com
->> Inexpensive test equipment & parts http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZspeff


2005\10\06@065652 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 09:07 PM 10/5/2005 -0400, you wrote:
>Is the "industrial" design defined as minimal, uncluttered?

That's one type of design, not necessarily the right one to use in a given
case.

I think most designs could benefit from this as it makes things less
>complicated.

On mechanical design-- given the complexities of injection molding, a simple
shape with no texture or other details and a sharp geometric design
could look pretty crummy (visible knit lines and flow lines, visible slight
distortion) and could be difficult to remove from the mold. A more complex
shape could be much more forgiving of normal imperfections and could
require much less handwork of the tooling (polishing, for example). It
could also look good longer due to visually hiding nicks and scratches
that develop during normal use.

>I believe it really is a "zen" thing, though I don't know
>if I'm qualified to use that word :)
>Minimalist artistic design (as I would call the "industrial" design)
>makes things appear monolithic and superior, though they may not be
>functionally.
>The design of the iPod is nice imo. The one problem is that the
>polycarbonate front scratches VERY easily. Other than that I enjoy it
>very much.

Polycarbonate is a very tough, but rather soft plastic, so it's bound
to pick up scratches. How much they 'show' is partially a function of
the design.

>I don't see how the "industrial" design fits your applications though
>because it would probably make things more expensive to manufacture,
>would it not?

A bit, but it's mostly up-front cost. The cost of a molded part is
mostly determined by the weight (materials), maximum thickness (time
required to cool) and surface area in the split-line plane (clamping
pressure and injection pressure of machine required). The cost of the
mold is somewhat higher for more complex parts of a given size, but
if the design is good, maybe not much different.

>[drifting away from Apple...]
>I believe the industrial design stretches to how devices operate as
>well. The most direct and efficient [for the user!] method should be
>taken. It can be hard for engineers to think like the typical user but
>it is the only way to make things nice to use.

Remote controls are an example. Part of it is the designer must
understand what similar devices the user will likely be familiar with and
try to fit into that reality, even if it isn't optimal in a global
sense. For example, I'd never buy something with an alphanumeric keyboard
that isn't QWERTY layout. Some products have been designed with ABCD
layouts because the designers assumed their target market didn't know
how to type.

>[back to Apple]
>I believe they left out some nice possible features to make the iPod
>easy enough for the typical user.

I come back to remote controls- some of them look like the engineers ran
amuck and put every conceivable feature in there.. most of which the average
user will never even try once. Apple sometimes goes too far (the one button
mouse) but at least they are considering the alternatives. The 80% of features
you'll never use should not inhibit the use of the 20% that you'll use
all the time (back to Pareto's Principle).

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
EraseMEspeffspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com




2005\10\06@084531 by David Van Horn

picon face


> -----Original Message-----
> From: piclist-bouncesspamspam_OUTmit.edu [@spam@piclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu] On
Behalf
> Of Chen Xiao Fan
> Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 2:16 AM
> To: 'Microcontroller discussion list - Public.'
> Subject: RE: [EE] Industrial design of electronics product
>
> I think we have yet to understand Industrial Design very well.
> Therefore our product managers are using the word "sexier".

That's part of it.  
Think of the telephone. Few realize the depth of research that went into
the 500 style desk phone.   Lots of work making that instrument a very
good fit for people.  A great example of a phone gone wrong was the
Ericophone. Swedish design IIRC, it had the dial on the bottom, and
looked COOL.
But, everyone set it down on the dial and disconnected the call when
they intended to just set it down for a moment.  (affordances)

Cell phones are pushing small, and I think taking it too far.  There is
a "right" size for a phone.



2005\10\06@084856 by David Van Horn

picon face
> We seem to have a bunch of engineers/scientists who can design
something
> in Pro Engineer and dismantle it on the screen 3D model, but the thing
is
> potentially not assemblable in real life because of the way they have
> designed bits to interlink.


VBG!  I've seen that, but fortunately not been on the receiving end.
We did a major project with pro-e for molded parts, but the fellow doing
the design spent many years as a master toolmaker. (one who makes the
molds)

ZERO problems that way.




2005\10\06@090113 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Cell phones are pushing small, and I think taking it
>too far.  There is a "right" size for a phone.

I suspect that this is a prime reason for the flip open units to be making a
comeback - it gets the microphone and earpiece into correct distance
relationship for the human face, while allowing the closed phone to be very
compact.

2005\10\06@090549 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> We seem to have a bunch of engineers/scientists who can design
>> something in Pro Engineer and dismantle it on the screen 3D
>> model, but the thing is potentially not assemblable in real
> life because of the way they have designed bits to interlink.
>
> VBG!  I've seen that, but fortunately not been on the receiving
> end. We did a major project with pro-e for molded parts, but
> the fellow doing the design spent many years as a master
> toolmaker. (one who makes the molds)

Yeah, that certainly helps. Unfortunately being in a government lab there
aren't too many with production experience - it is the scientist types
pushing the design, the guys in the drawing office do what is asked of them.
Every so often someone with practical experience needs to dig the quicksand
away ...

2005\10\06@092814 by Dave Lag

picon face
AMEN!

(oops- that violates no-religion rule :)

Then we get "the flip" to fix small by adding that most reliable
component and bastion of electrical continuity: "the hinge".
D

David Van Horn wrote:
.....
> Cell phones are pushing small, and I think taking it too far.  There is
> a "right" size for a phone.
>  


2005\10\06@155259 by Peter

picon face

Initially 'industrial design' implied victorian columns and decorations
and later more of the same but in art deco style. The real 'industrial
design' started when mass production and price pressure caused makers to
try to make something cheap and ugly not so ugly. This resulted in the
famous minimalist designs of consumer goods from the 1920s and 1930s
on. The tradition lives on today and usually when you say inductrial
design today you are talking about a piece of machinery or equipment
that was shaped and colored and textured such that it is pleasing to the
human user or onlooker, but with a minimum possible expense in labor
and materials.

This is the way I know it.

Peter

2005\10\06@155817 by Peter

picon face


On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Chen Xiao Fan wrote:

> My washing machine is front-loaded type (European brand) and
> indeed there are lots of stuff on top. What is the problem?
> They seems to be much more rugged than the top loaded
> model from Japanese/Korea vendors. I have not yet read
> the manual to be honest because it works right out of the
> box.

Did you remove the bolts that hold the drum fixed during transport ?
;-) ;-) ;-)

Maybe you should look at the manual a little anyway, even if you removed
the bolts.

Peter

2005\10\06@172946 by Robert Rolf

picon face
Peter wrote:
> On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Chen Xiao Fan wrote:
>
>> My washing machine is front-loaded type (European brand) and
>> indeed there are lots of stuff on top. What is the problem?
>> They seems to be much more rugged than the top loaded
>> model from Japanese/Korea vendors. I have not yet read
>> the manual to be honest because it works right out of the
>> box.
>
>
> Did you remove the bolts that hold the drum fixed during transport ?
> ;-) ;-) ;-)
>
> Maybe you should look at the manual a little anyway, even if you removed
> the bolts.

If the user interface is well done, he really should NOT need to
read the manual, since it should all be intuitive with well labeled
controls. But it certainly can't hurt to read it to see what might not
be obvious.

But what about 'bad' firmware design? Why doesn't it get fixed even
when it's easy to repair?

We have a new Kenmore (whirlpool) side load washer. If my wife
pushes the 'cancel/pause' button at just the right point in the fill
cycle, to add some clothes, the unit locks up solidly.
Every button error beeps when pressed, but the unit simply will
not 'start/continue'. It has to be unplugged to get it to listen
to it's front panel. We have been able to reproduce the problem,
have phoned Sears (Kenmore is their house brand) to complain, yet they claim that
it's NOT a problem. The usual 'so don't use the pause button when filling'
advice was given. Gimme a break. It's got bad firmware and they don't
want to acknowledge it because they'd have to fix it under warranty.

Brand new Frigidair refrigerator had to have it's PIC controller replaced
because the damper between the freezer and fridge would freeze up and
not operate.
Apparently the replacement controller now opens and closes the damper
multiple times during a cooling cycle, the faster to wear out the motor.

One can sometimes fix a design screw up with firmware updates,
but it's unfortunate the makers don't, even when it's easy.

There are many features that I like in the newer digital cameras,
but I can't seem to find them all in ONE camera, in spite of months of
looking. Camera makers COULD update their older cameras with features
found in their later models (record mode histograms, fine focus zoom box, etc.)
but they don't. An update only seems to fix stuff that is badly WRONG
but never adds a useful new feature even though it's only needs firmware.
Why is that?


Robert

2005\10\06@181036 by marcel

flavicon
face
Well, it's a lot of work to back-port features, and really, they've already
made their money off of you, so why would they bother? It might seem
short-sighted since it may impact your future buying decisions, but nobody
wants to spend the time and money to back-port features to older models,
especially if everyone is busy working on the next iteration of the product.

Robert Rolf <KILLspamRobert.RolfKILLspamspamualberta.ca> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2005\10\06@202513 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
Because they delivered it to my flat and then set up the
washing machine for us and then left a telephone number that
we can call for help. It is the same situation with the
refrigerator. Therefore I do not really need to read
the manuals.

I will say that the quality of washing machines and fridges
and the industrial design are generally quite okay.
Reliability (after the warranty period) is another thing.
The Europeans are better off with at least 2 years
warranty. In the rest of the world, one year is the
norm for consumer electronics field and people need to
pay quite a lot for extended warranty. Philips is good
to extend this to the rest of the world for quite some
of its product.

I read he manuals for the DVD, TV and Microwave ovens.
They can be tricky to set up so I am tasked by my
wife to maintain them. I am also tasked to maintain
all the PCs, printers and PDAs. She takes care of the
washing machine and the fridge and I think she already
read the manuals. ;-)

For the industrial design or usability side, I think
PCs are one of the worst. Mouse and keyboard are
really badly designed but I do not know how to fix it yet.
The power cord and cables behind the desktops are really
ugly. And often the manuals are not so useful. I feel
amazed why I stay in front of such a badly designed
product for so long, at work and after work, ...

Regards,
Xiaofan

{Original Message removed}

2005\10\06@214949 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
Because they want you to buy a new camera. My theory is still
over competition in the consumer electronics sector. It makes no
more economic sense for the consumer electronics vendors to provide
support after the product is EOL. And for consumer electronics
product, often EOL means 1 or 2 years or even less.

And it really takes a PhD to fully utilize the features of a
new digicam. The industrial design aspect of digital cameras have
been focused on the sleekness, not the usability side (human
engineering side).

As for the firmware update, it is also a support nightmare.
The firmwares we are talking about here in digicams or new
phones are not the PIC16Fs (<=8k word). They are up to 10s
of Mega Bytes. That is why the Sony Ericson T610 would often
hang when it was first released. I'd better stick with my
old Nokia 8250. The human engineering of the small keypad
is also a nightmare to use for SMS. I just do not understand
why the people here in ASIA can type the messages so fast
using the small numerical keypad. It also promotes bad
English. The only reason is that it is quite cheap here
to use SMS (US$0.03 per message and often the subscribers
got free 100 or more free SMS).

Regards,
Xiaofan

{Original Message removed}

2005\10\07@021447 by Marcel Birthelmer

flavicon
face
So in light of this discussion, and seeing as how I'm a noob for the
most part, how do you guys finish your projects (hobby, or maybe
otherwise)? Do you get the project boxes from electronics stores? Do you
pay someone to design you an enclosure etc.? Are there cheap books that
miraculously teach all there is to know?
I'm asking mainly because I'm working on a project now that I want to
complete to such a degree that it can be assumed to have been
store-bought, but I have no design skills whatsoever, and I'm sure I'm
not the only one who's ever been in this situation.
Any input is welcome.
- Marcel


Xiaofan Chen wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2005\10\07@054807 by Vasile Surducan

face picon face
On 10/7/05, Robert Rolf <RemoveMERobert.RolfTakeThisOuTspamualberta.ca> wrote:
> Peter wrote:
> > On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Chen Xiao Fan wrote:

snip

> > Maybe you should look at the manual a little anyway, even if you removed
> > the bolts.

snap

> If the user interface is well done, he really should NOT need to
> read the manual,

There are two rules where ever you live and how ever you're named:

1. RTFM before power up
2. RTFM again to understant what the hell he want for the first time...

You could read it after the water is on your floor and say aha, now
I've understood ...

cheers,
Vasile

2005\10\07@055154 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>An update only seems to fix stuff that is badly WRONG
>but never adds a useful new feature even though it's
>only needs firmware. Why is that?

two reasons -

1. there is no more ROm space for new firmware

2. You never paid for the IP for the new feature in the first place.

2005\10\07@055240 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>An update only seems to fix stuff that is badly WRONG
>but never adds a useful new feature even though it's
>only needs firmware. Why is that?

two reasons -

1. there is no more ROm space for new firmware

2. You never paid for the IP for the new feature in the first place.

2005\10\07@094838 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Robert Rolf wrote:

> If the user interface is well done, he really should NOT need to read the
> manual, since it should all be intuitive with well labeled controls. But
> it certainly can't hurt to read it to see what might not be obvious.

Chen Xiao Fan wrote:

> Therefore I do not really need to read the manuals.

Vasile Surducan wrote:

> There are two rules where ever you live and how ever you're named:
>
> 1. RTFM before power up
> 2. RTFM again to understant what the hell he want for the first time...

I'm with Vasile here.

There's one aspect to this that I think especially the people on this list
know to appreciate. In every (good) design, no matter how simple the final
product, goes a /lot/ of thought. There are many details to take care of.
Much of the result of this thought process can be made obvious through the
design, but there's always a part of it for which this is not possible.

So with a good product comes a good manual. It covers the aspects that
cannot be made obvious in the product -- and there are always some. Show
your respect for the designers and developers, value their thoughts and
read the manual :)

Gerhard

2005\10\07@094843 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Marcel Birthelmer wrote:

> Are there cheap books that miraculously teach all there is to know?

I don't think so... this is one of the areas of engineering that's much
more of an art than a science. You have to know a lot of techniques, know
what you can do yourself, know who can do what inexpensively in your area
(which obviously depends a lot on where you are), know materials, what you
(and others) can do with them (and what not) and where to get them, and
then kind of combine that in your head or at the tip of your pencil or
wherever in a way that produces that super cool design :)

Whenever I discuss design ideas with others, there's at least one idea that
comes up that combines one or more of these in a way that nobody has
thought of before. Not every time that's then something that will be
pursued, but still... I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are no
general recipes. But you can learn a few techniques from others that make
sense for you.  

> I'm asking mainly because I'm working on a project now that I want to
> complete to such a degree that it can be assumed to have been
> store-bought, but I have no design skills whatsoever, and I'm sure I'm
> not the only one who's ever been in this situation.
> Any input is welcome.

One thing I've done that provides a quite nice finish and that to a price
that's very accessible for a hobby project too (at least here in Brazil) is
to
- get cut some adhesive paper cut to graphic designs I made (text, logo,
whatever) -- there are some guys who have a machine that does this, and
they usually make most of their money off the designs, so if you give them
the design, it's not expensive at all;
- polish aluminum -- if you can't do it yourself, there are shops that do
it;
- glue the paper on the polished aluminum and sand blast it;
- take that to an anodizing shop and get it anodized in your color of
choice. The parts covered by the adhesives will be shiny, and the rest will
be similar to brushed anodized aluminum, a bit more coarse.

Every step is really inexpensive here, and quite suitable for one-offs and
prototypes. Gives a very nice general professional finish, but doesn't work
for small text and other markings that you need with a high contrast.

Gerhard

2005\10\10@014713 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
I better read the manuals before the water is on my floor
and indeed I read the manual during the weekend. ;-)

Still lots of the manuals are really of bad quality and I really
do not bother to read them.

On the manual part, I am afraid that simply 2 pages are not enough
for most of the product but a 100-page installation manual will
cost quite a lot for some low cost product. To point customers
to a website seems to be a good idea but people may complaint
that they do not have Internet access or they do not know how
to use the computers. This is especially the case when dealing
with a product which does not involve a PC.

What is a good manual?

Regards,
Xiaofan

-----Original Message-----
From: Vasile Surducan
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2005 5:48 PM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [EE] Industrial design of electronics product

There are two rules whereever you live and however you're named:

1. RTFM before power up
2. RTFM again to understant what the hell he want for the first time...

You could read it after the water is on your floor and say aha, now
I've understood ...

cheers,
Vasile

2005\10\10@095741 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Chen Xiao Fan wrote:

> What is a good manual?

One that gets easily understood by most of the target audience, once they
set their mind to reading it. And one that invites people to set their mind
to it.

One that presents the information in a staggered approach, so that it's
easy to focus on the currently important information. What you should know,
what you might want to know, what helps you if you have trouble are three
common stages.

In general, I think it depends a lot on the product and the target
audience. I'm not sure there are many guidelines that are universal enough
to apply to all or at least a majority of products but are still concrete
enough to be of much help when actually writing a manual :)

Gerhard

2005\10\10@102750 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
Actually I will need to finish some datasheets this week and I will
just follow our template. I do not think it is a very good way but
I have to follow. The marketing guy will then put them nicely
in the catalog. ;-)

Our product is optic proximity switch which is rather easy to
use in normal case. So I guess an instruction sheet (cost
US$0.12) will be enough.

Regards,
Xiaofan

On 10/10/05, Gerhard Fiedler <spamBeGonelistsspamBeGonespamconnectionbrazil.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2005\10\10@103738 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> What is a good manual?

1. something that is even harder to write than good softeware

2. something that is impossible to write without a specific audience in
mind (as Gerhard notes)

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\10\10@105833 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
> What is a good manual?
>
>
One with a good index, and enough content that the index makes sense.

BillW

2005\10\10@120912 by Hazelwood Lyle

flavicon
face


>That's part of it.  
>Think of the telephone. Few realize the depth of research that went into
>the 500 style desk phone.   Lots of work making that instrument a very
>good fit for people.  

OK, so I'm a bit slow catching up with my PIClist postings.
I read this with some appreciation, especially after seeing this
webpage just yesterday.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/electronic/7830/

Be Happy,
Lyle

2005\10\10@122631 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>OK, so I'm a bit slow catching up with my PIClist postings.
>I read this with some appreciation, especially after seeing
>this webpage just yesterday.
>
> http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/electronic/7830/

<VBG> just a shame it is not very pocketable.

Now how do I set my cell to old fashion ringing ...

Ring ... Ring ............ Ring ... Ring - well European style, anyway.

2005\10\10@170535 by Peter

picon face

> I better read the manuals before the water is on my floor
> and indeed I read the manual during the weekend. ;-)
>
> Still lots of the manuals are really of bad quality and I really
> do not bother to read them.

At least you should have the option to obtain them in the original
(Chinese I presume) language where there may be fewer typos.

> On the manual part, I am afraid that simply 2 pages are not enough
> for most of the product but a 100-page installation manual will

I don't think that there are 100-page manuals. It would take a crew of
trained men to get the job done, in a few weeks.

> cost quite a lot for some low cost product. To point customers
> to a website seems to be a good idea but people may complaint
> that they do not have Internet access or they do not know how
> to use the computers. This is especially the case when dealing
> with a product which does not involve a PC.
>
> What is a good manual?

A good installation manual is that information which points out what to
do and what not to do to make the installation, and nothing else
(excepting a drilling template and such where appropriate).

A good user manual is one that actually reflects the functions of the
unit (rare with menu systems) in a terse way and provides simple howtos
(less than a page each) and a good index.

Peter

2005\10\10@173119 by Peter

picon face


On Mon, 10 Oct 2005, Xiaofan Chen wrote:

> Actually I will need to finish some datasheets this week and I will
> just follow our template. I do not think it is a very good way but
> I have to follow. The marketing guy will then put them nicely
> in the catalog. ;-)
>
> Our product is optic proximity switch which is rather easy to
> use in normal case. So I guess an instruction sheet (cost
> US$0.12) will be enough.

Someone asked about how to do industrial design for their products: I
found this while looking for something else:

http://daed.com

Peter

2005\10\10@205130 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
No I am in Singapore where the majority of the people are Chinese
but will normally prefer to speak English or a mix of language
(people here can mix English/Mandarin/Hokkien or even some
Cantonese or Malay words freely, quite amazing). And the manual
is English/French/German/Spanish since it is a European brand. ;-)

I do not know of any people speaking French and Spanish here
even my company have quite some German speaking people here.
Presumably it is cheaper to produce a multi-lingual manual
than customized to every country's need. There are 4 official
language in Singapore: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
Most of the people only know two (English + one of their
first language).

Regards,
Xiaofan



{Original Message removed}

2005\10\19@065000 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Alan,

On Mon, 10 Oct 2005 17:26:29 +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

>...<
> Now how do I set my cell to old fashion ringing ...
>
> Ring ... Ring ............ Ring ... Ring - well European style, anyway.

Mine does - it's one of the ringtones that comes with it called, cleverly, "Ring
Ring"!  :-)  Sadly the phone is no longer made, since the firm went bust (it's a
Sendo X).  It may be in a format that's transferrable - I'll have a look when I get
time.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


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