Correlating convergence in product design
Bingham, David Clayton
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Convergence is a topic that many point to as the driving force behind modern product development. The merger of similar devices into a single product form can create a number of advantages for both producers and consumers, but successful design must take more than just this into account. Convergence is the evolution of a product through a disruptive and uncertain environment of technology and user needs. While the digital revolution has certainly been the biggest recent disrupter to society and design, there are signs of convergence in both form and function that have occurred across many products, and product categories. Producers and consumers always clamor for devices that are useful and convenient, take advantage of the latest technologies, and yet remain intuitive, attractive, and easy to use. This paper will dissect the meaning of convergence in product design and provide a framework for understanding and dialog. Combined with an extensive survey and product mapping, this definition will then be used to delineate approaches and principles for the effective design of evolving products in today's changing environment. The findings of this paper will help designers make decisions when considering the trade-offs between aesthetics, functionality, and ease of use in technology based products.