Hearing aids can be scary to someone who doesn’t know how they work. So with Halloween just around the corner, we think it’s the perfect opportunity to show kids and their friends that hearing aids are cool!
I have been a graphic designer for over 13 years in Chicago. I have worked with many interesting and diverse clients and never thought I would work for one “client” exclusively. Design isn’t just about making things pretty but about understanding a need, developing messages and clearly communicating these to people through different media and channels.
So why did I join a hearing aid manufacturer?
A former teacher of mine, Marcia Lausen, and one of her staff designers, a former classmate, contacted me about a potential in-house job at Phonak. They introduced me to their 10-month research of the industry and showed concepts they had developed at studio/lab, a design studio.
Their research informed The Phonak Gain Initiative (PGI). PGI is about changing the conversation and strengthening the relationship between hearing aid customers and their hearing care professionals. “The conversation” has been, and still is, about the struggles of being hearing impaired, the fear of not being “normal”, the sadness of losing one’s hearing and other health conditions that can be associated with hearing loss. Continue reading “Changing the Conversation: Design & Hearing”
At Phonak, the person who manages design of new products is Martyn. He works with the top design and innovation experts from around the world to create the hearing aids of the future: look and feel, colours, interaction — pretty much all that makes our hearing aids quasi an extension of ourselves, in addition to processing sound in a way that improves our daily lives.
I spent some time on the phone yesterday with Nataliya, an independent innovation consultant who is going to be running some of these co-creation workshops in New York as part of the design process for the next generation of hearing aids. Continue reading “Participate in a Co-Creation Workshop to Design Future Hearing Aids”
Today, it’s World Usability Day. More than a hundred events will be held around the world by passionate people — I am one of them — who believe that usability is key.
Usability is about making products, even complex ones, easy to use by everyone. Of course, that is the ideal goal and you would probably agree with me that we are really far from it! It’s even worse: it looks like appliances like ovens became less usable in the past years. A few years ago I shot a 2-minute video showing a well-known Swiss politician explaining how he struggled with his new unusable oven. This was part of a project launched during World Usability Day 2006. The video (in French) is still available on Dailymotion.
Unfortunately, the oven is an example among thousands of others. Ironic as it sounds, I am writing these lines on a PC which is far from being a model of design and usability — I wish I could use my Macbook at work! But I am unfair. My PC is far better than my unengaging desktop phone. By the way, do you know why we, employees of companies and public bodies around the world, seem to be condemned to use these horrible phones ? How did they survive to the iPhone era?
Maybe it’s because I’m a newbie (less than three years) hearing aid wearer with mild-to-medium hearing loss, but this has been a subject of continued annoyance for me.
Of course, my batteries aren’t falling out of my hearing aids when I’m wearing them. No, they tend to fall out when stuffing them into pockets, bags, drying boxes, jewellery boxes, and all the other various places I put them (shhh I know it’s bad) when I take them out of my ears. Which happens, because I like my deafness when I’m alone at home, don’t need extra volume on noisy fellow travellers when I’m in public transport, and use my earbuds quite a bit for phone, music, and podcasts.
Caveat: all this might be way less true now that I’ve tasted Venture.
In any case, even if I don’t change my nasty habits, it seems that now that I’m carrying these V90s my battery-falling-out days are over. Look at the photograph closely (it’s not easy to photograph, and easy to miss):