April 30, 2009

Convenient Visual Design

While shopping a few days ago, I noticed the packages of convenience food shown in the picture. The upper product seems to be a newer version (product 2.0, so to speak), and I assume that the lower one will be phased out.
The contents are basically identical for the two versions; the difference is mainly one of visual package design.
  • The first striking difference is the toned down colouring scheme for the upper package. Instead of using vivid colours, the package is mainly black, with colours mainly used for logos and product name banner.
  • The opening in the package is smaller for the upper one in order to have more space for graphics and text. (It’s not a picture of the product being shown, it’s the actual contents, sealed with a foil.) Size of graphics and text are not increased, though. Instead, they are reduced in size, to allow for more white space (or in this case: black space), which results in a more balanced and uncluttered appearance compared to the lower package.
  • Finally, the label “gourmet” has been dropped for the upper package, probably because the class of the product shall be communicated via the visual appearance instead of merely declaring it via a label.
So, with content and interaction design remaining the same, it’s the change in visual design that distinguishes the two products. Which is appropriate, since there is no chance to taste or “handle” to product before buying – the user has to judge the book (or in this case: chicken) by the cover.

April 26, 2009

Back again

This blog has been on hiatus for quite a while. I have not been idle, however, and you can find some articles that I have written in the meantime at Centigrade's company blog.
I am going to maintain this private blog more regularly again and use it to document "usability stuff" whenever it comes to my mind.
The length of posts will mostly be somewhere in between the rather elaborate articles I'm writing for the Centigrade Blog and the microblogging that is happening at Twitter.
So, as always: if you have questions or would like to discuss, feel free to leave a comment, drop me an email or follow me on Twitter.