Monday, August 23, 2010

How to Kill the Death Grip - A humble design suggestion

Design is the intrinsic element of lifestyle - the essence of living. The more we talk, the more we explore it. This is the one-liner on my blog header. I firmly believe in design discourses as an exploration and discovery tool.
Lately, we heard a lot about Apple iPhone 4.0 antenna design flaw. Apple never accepted the flaw and orchestrated a big cover up, until lately, when it succumbed to deafening media coverage and continuous customer complaints.
 It surprised me how Apple could create a product with such a basic design flaw. The wrong placement for the joint of antenna is definitely not an engineering flaw but a design flaw.
Someone in the design team did mess up user research. He forgot to perform contextual inquiry with the users while they used the product. Or he did not write enough future scenarios depicting the usage of this product. Something certainly went terribly wrong somewhere in the design process. Otherwise, Apple wouldn’t have to teach us how to hold mobile phones or give away free jumpers. A good design fits itself seamlessly in the user space in all usage scenarios.
All these years, Apple thrived on its outstanding user experience and high quality products. One design flaw has significantly tarnished its clean image. People are afraid of upgrading their phones to iPhone 4.0 from iPhone 3.0. Instead, they want to wait for a new hardware release with the problem fixed.
As a product designer, I also thought about the flaw and looked into different ways in which my friends and I use our mobile phones. I came up with a quick sketch based on my observations. The best place for the band seems to be top center.
I would love to get your feedback, suggestions, and criticisms on the design.


  1. Pretty sure they put antenna's there on most phones these days because of modern safety standards:

  2. A small correction: The point in question is not the antenna, it is the point where two antennas are separated.

  3. Thanks! Yes, I meant the same. Perhaps, I need to make it clearer on the blog. It's the separation we are talking about.