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OK, I know this is J Mays, and he probably knows better than me...but isn't creating a ficticious individual (albeit representative of a demographic) for which a car design is tailored dangerously limiting the design scope? I would have thought this level of microscopic design focus was a symptom of spending too much time in a design studio connecting blue ray devices to your latest concept and not enough time in the reall world.

My partner and I (both in our late 30's) recently purchased a Ford Fiesta, but not J Mays' funky new one, the previous model. Both cars were great, we were prepared to pay extra for the benefits of the new model (style, resale, features), but by focusing so hard on 23 year old 'Antonella' and her handbag, the design team neglected to make the rear hatch wide enough to accomodate all but the smallest of loads. So, we purchased the more practical model. Isn't that simply bad design?


Ouch...hit raw nerve wth some J Mays fans? He's not the only designer guilty of subscribing to designer jargon, everyone is! I recently reviewed the work of some Industrial Design students, and found that their target customer (for the guys) an attractive 23 year old woman called Ricci or Kirin or something quirky and semi-exotic...these girls seem to buy almost everything! Is anyone's target customer an overweight mother of three who works part-time Friday afternoon's stacking shelves at the local supermarket? Never. The concept of a target customer seems to be nothing more than a justification for pitching your funky design to a CEO who dreams of producing products for attractive young people. Seems it's time to get back to basics with product design.


Hi Duane,

Sorry for the delay in posting your comments - been away for the past few days with very limited internet access. To a large extenet, I agree with what you say - and you can see some of my (and other Londoner's) views on the new Fiesta, and the Antonella led 'persona design' here: http://movementbureau.blogs.com/projects/2009/08/user-research-on-the-ford-fiesta-the-view-from-some-real-life-antonellas.html - a number of the comments there, square with what you're saying.


Ha! That's absolute gold Joe, thanks for pointing it out to me, and congrats for taking the 'personae' to the streets. Don't worry, I'm not on a personal crusade, I just thought the delay meant I was either right out of touch, or was hurling backhanded insults at an untouchable design personality (which wasn't the case, you can't but admire guys like Mays).

The first comment hit the nail right on the head, the target consumer appears to be the latest design studio buzz, and god knows I hate buzz (don't get me started on 'green' design, and how it goes out the window when your enviromentally sensitive customer sees the build cost. Grrr), especially when it leeches into the eduction of young designers as fact. Thankfully, the cult of personae didn't seem to have a great effect on the end results of any of the students work I saw, but it was a source of amusement...which I'm not against. I'm just not sure it has a place outside of an enormous studio.

No sweat Joe, comments or not, you've got a permenant reader here, I'm really enjoying your insight. Cheers, Duane


Cheers Duane, much appreciated.

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