Sunday, November 25, 2007

Office Depot

1. I observed Office Depot which markets to adults ages 30-50, who work in an office, and those who own small businesses.

2. a. Before I walked into the store, I noticed that Office Depot is traditional business feel. There are no extravagant displays and they do not entice the consumer with their outward appearance. Office Depot is a plain brick building with sliding doors. Even the sign communicates consistency and professionalism; Office Depot is written in a bold text.

b. Once inside the store, the sounds were of displays of new technology and sales pitches by the associates roaming the store. There weren’t blasting the latest music, like a store that targets a teenager. It was still a professional feel.

c. I was rather not impressed with the display of the merchandise. There were no sales displays to intrigue the customer. The product had to create interest and the sales associates would sell the product. It resembled a warehouse feel, with parallel shelves and aisles and boxes of merchandise stacked under a display model. The merchandise was cluttered and mostly unorganized. This may be the result of the wide and deep selection that they offer.

d. The floors were unfinished cement and dirty. This added to the warehouse feel.

e. The signs were made of plain white paper and black text. Some sign were just taped to merchandise, while other signs were attached to the shelving units.

f. The cashier area was cluttered by impulse merchandise and old flyers and specials.

3. Office Depot tries to project the image of professionalism without wasting the customer’s time and money on gimmicks. They are straight forward with their merchandise and have a “warehouse” theme. They carry many products and therefore don’t feel the need to sell you something specific with outrageous displays. There aisles are consistently placed and not meant to attract the customer, only to hold the product. The building isn’t completely finished or carpeted like one would find at a Best Buy.

4. Almost all the merchandise had display models in which the customer could try out. The design did not lead you through the store as it does at say IKEA. If a customer was not looking for a specific product it would be hard to browse around the store because of its lack of focus.

5. I found it interesting that Office Depot could sell to a professional business base while maintaining a cluttered, “warehouse” feel design. The variety really sells this store because everything you need for business is in one place.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Retailing Question

According to the article, shoppers are influenced by the positioning of merchandise. How influential do you feel this is on the shopper’s willingness to buy? Can positioning really change the success of a business?

Laura's Question:

Do you believe that the mapping of a store has influence on your shopping habits? Or do you, the consumer, know what you are looking for and it is a mere matter of finding the item within the store? Is it moral to manipulate consumers by product placement, or effective marketing?

Paco's "butt-brush" theory is that a women's product that requires extensive examination should not be placed in a narrow aisle. Does this make sense? Clearance racks are often the most shopped region of the store. they are also usually crammed next to each other and often in shambles. But this goes against Paco's theory. Why do women still shop in clearance racks?

The mapping of a store does have an influence on purchasing. There are certain stores that I feel more comfortable in and I have more of a willingness to buy. If I am in a store that I am not used to or feel like I don’t fit in I will most likely leave the store as soon as possible. This fits in with Paco’s theory of time relating to purchasing - the less time I spend in a store, the less I am likely to buy. Also, I don’t seem to notice the items at the front of a store until I am leaving the store. This means that Paco was right in theorizing that there is a cool down for walking speeds.

Clearance racks pose a completely different issue. With clearance, there is a new incentive to buy: finding that perfect item for an extraordinary price. There is the hunt and the battle through the clearance racks. Since items are sold for less money, there is an excuse for messy racks and crowded spaces. It is a different kind of shopping, meaning there are a different set of rules.

Ezra's Question:

This article talks a lot about people's tendencies to touch, or pet articles of clothing before purchasing them, so therefore stores place items on tables to make this action easier. The author explains that this is because we tend to eat, and pick up food on tables, but why are these two actions related? When we sit down to eat, do we poke and prod our food before consuming in the same way we evaluate a shirt or pair of jeans for comfortability? What is it about touch that is so critical in our evaluation of a product?

I found this concept very interesting when I read the article. This is the way that my mom shops. To buy something she must be able to touch it. She will feel items that she is not going to buy, like when she is just walking through a store. I was always curious about this when I was younger, but now that I am a buyer I do the same thing. This does not have anything to do with the way we eat, as Paco believes. I think that we, as the consumer, need to make that first impression with the product, a connection to what we may own. It’s our way of sampling the product. Since the consumer doesn’t just look at the product, they wear it, touch it, live in it, they need to know what they are getting. And the retailer does a great job of letting the shopper feel out a product.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pitiful Packaging

1. Packaging serves several purposes:

Protecting the product – Packages are necessary for fragile items that cannot be shipped, stored and displayed without proper protection.

Easy storage and distribution – It’s easier to store and distribute boxes than the actual product itself.

Deterring theft – Many packages have security sensors to protect against shop lifting. If a product wasn’t packaged, wouldn’t it be easier to steal?

Displaying the product – Barbie dolls would not look as cool if they were not displayed so well in their packages.

2. The articles suggest that packaging design is wasteful and not environmentally friendly. Many products have too much packaging resulting in waste. Plastic bags are not necessary when there are ways to reduce excess. Consumers can use reusable bags and producers can use more simplistic recyclable packaging. Producers can also start to utilize packaging that can be recycled immediately by the consumer, meaning it is something that the consumer can reuse for something else, like a sturdy container, not just something that has only one purpose. This would reduce trash. Germany’s plan creates a good incentive for producers to consider their packaging problems and might influence them to design more reusable packages.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


1. To what extent is packaging important in marketing a product? Give an example of how a package influenced your decision to buy (or not buy) something.

We buy based on the packaging. When we do not have any prior judgments about a product the only judgment we have the first impression, the packaging. The consumer notices a design that is unique, one that doesn’t fit in with the others. I buy makeup based on design. A makeup product has to jump out at me to be noticed and then I decide if it fits my needs. Makeup needs to grab the customer’s attention because there is so much competition in the makeup aisle.

2. What other products have iconic packaging?

Apple’s packaging is simple and clean. It is not flashy and obnoxious, just sophisticated. The consumer will recognize an apple product right away from the Apple symbol.

Gaming systems also use the same packaging design concept as Apple. They are sharp and sleek. Not only is the packaging designed, but the system has a package – the design of the game consol. The system is displayed and in the eye of the consumer all the time. The consumer must relate the size, shape and color of the consol immediately with the brand.

Expensive water bottles have iconic packaging. An Evian can be spotted from across the room. A Fiji water bottle has a design that is unique to the water bottle industry; the square design is something that was never utilized before this product. It is amazing that with so many water bottling companies, only a few are distinct from the classic design.

High end makeup has a specific iconic design that is associated with the product. I will not go through them all but some examples are Clinique, Chanel, Estee Lauder and MAC.

3. What usability issues exist for packaging? Give examples of particularly good or bad packaging from a usability perspective.

Bad examples of design packaging include toy packaging that can’t be opened even by an adult. Some things that have too much packaging – why so much paper, ties and plastic? There are jars that can’t be opened and bottles that prevent the product from coming out.

There are some packages that you want to keep after opening it because you like the package so much. This is a good design. Products such a shampoo have packaging that is used with the product, so there is no wasted material. Makeup has good packaging most of the time because the packaging is essential to the usability of the product.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

websites that suck

1. How does the reading relate to the concept of user-focused design that we have discussed in class?

Webpages have to be constructed for the user, just like products have to be constructed for the consumer. The author himself had design issues. Many of the sites that the author uses as examples I have never heard of, therefore his points lacked evidence. As he mentioned, his page was really long, I scrolled through and wouldn’t have read it I didn’t have to.

2. What points do you feel are most important?

The goal of a website is to communicate information. There are three ways that the line of communication can be severed or there can be miscommunication. The author’s sixth point, navigational failure, can completely confuse a user. It is like driving on a highway with no signs: you know exactly where you want to go but you have no idea how to get there. I have experienced this while surfing the Kalamazoo website. I know the specific information I need, but I cannot find it and do not know how I got to it before, so I spend ten minutes looking for information and ten seconds reading it. When the user cannot even find the information, there is no way that it can be communicated. The user gives up and finds a better website. Similar to this is the second point, being able to figure out the goal of the website in four seconds. If the user does not know what the purpose of the website is, they probably do not care about it and will move on. If the user cannot figure the website out, then they will conclude that it is not intended for them. If a website has too much material, the tenth idea, like when the scroll bar is a millimeter long, then there is too much to communicate and therefore a lack of communication. Certain information needs to be emphasized or linked on different pages. The user will not read one long page, will not even want to skim one long document and will move on. Even if the information is great, the user will still not receive it.

3. Create your own list of important design factors for a webpage.

  • Simple
  • Organized
  • Easily understood


All Pages:

  • Name, motto, and logo with adequate description of function
  • Colorful, intriguing images and text
  • Search bar at top
  • List of all topics in website displayed with categorized keywords

Categories for links on all pages:

  • Home
  • About us
  • Contact information
  • Location
  • Other specialized links

Home Page:

  • Recent news
  • Overview of website
  • Goals of website

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I was recently browsing my classmates’ blogs about our design intelligence class.

First I read Brandon’s blog. He wrote about the design of common everyday objects in his dorm room. This relates to the book we read earlier, The Design of Everyday Things. It is interesting that after studying design in class, we so readily analyze our possessions.

I then read Naufal’s blog. He discussed the design of new products and technological advances. He mentions the iPhone, which I don’t really know much about and it was interesting to read his analysis. Naufal also wrote about the design of a camera, which was the subject of my design analysis paper.

Finally I read Laura’s blog because it was another obscure connection to the design world similar to my post about marketing. Laura wrote about merchandising. I have learned a little about merchandising while studying marketing. In DECA, I competed in the Apparel and Accessories Event which has a merchandizing aspect. Design is necessary in merchandising to persuade the customer.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Making a good design is only half the battle. For a design to impact society, it needs to be marketed. Without solid knowledge of the product, customers cannot utilize the product to its full potential. There are four principles of marketing: product, price, place, promotion. The product deals with the design. This is what I have learned about in class. Price is the value that the product is exchanged for. Without a proper price, the design will never reach its target market. Place refers to the distribution of the product. The chain of distribution follows this order: manufacturer, (agent), wholesaler, retailer, consumer. The promotional mix is advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and personal selling. All these together display the design of the product and inform the consumer about the product. This is just a sneak peek into the world of marketing, there is much more out there!