Allen Smith, Electrolux Group’s Digital Experience Design Director, is a member of the Electrolux Global Design Leadership team and leads digital transformation activities within Electrolux Design. He explains his views on the future of digital experience design and Electrolux’s global approach to this new way of working.
Why is it so important to weave the digital experience into design today?
How we orchestrate the experience of different home appliances talking to one another and taking on more housework is an important topic. This overall digital experience will be crucial in driving meaningful connected experiences for our consumers. It covers everything from how the user interacts with our products through an app or third-party voice assistant to how we can use data from the appliance to personalize the consumer experience or create added value.
Electrolux set up a new Global Digital Experience team in 2018. What are the priorities for this team?
We are covering the basics right now and instituting best practices from the digital world, so we can compete in this coming new era. Our global team consists of user interface designers, interaction designers, prototypers, front-end developers, and other talented digital folks from our design studios. Having a global design team means that our designers don’t have to start a project from scratch every time, but have access to reusable templates, libraries, components and patterns to draw from. You can think of it as our Lego kit: while the individual units may be common, what you build with them can still be very different. This makes the overall design delivery faster but also more consistent and on-brand, not just visually.
Where do you see Electrolux by 2021 in terms of digital experience design?
I think we need to think about where the Electrolux customers will be then in terms of their expectations. And, we need to consider how we deliver on the promised value of a connected appliance. Right now, the smart home market is composed of early adopters. To move beyond this early adopter group and appeal to mainstream consumers, it will have to transform the way we live in practical ways. For example, just because a refrigerator can have integrated audio technology doesn’t mean it should serve as a home sound system to recite the daily news. We have to think about the main purpose of a device and determine how it can be amplified with additional convenience or interoperability while not necessarily charging people more just because it has Wi-Fi.