Out of the Box

A special project for Samsung

Good design should be for everyone.

Out of the Box is a simple yet effective solution for cell phone users who have difficulties with learning to use their new handset. For older people, this experience can be particularly frustrating as they apply analogue modes of learning to the digital experience - looking in the box for help that simply is not there.

Rather than design a dumbed down "special phone" we decided to look at the problem in a different way. Maybe existing phones don't need to be changed, maybe we should change the way we learn how to use them instead.

Our research spanned Europe, we worked with over 20 users of all ages to create three concepts for Samsung. The work will was featured in the 2011 exhibition "Talk to Me" at the MoMA New York.

Most phones come with flimsy manuals with complicated language and jargon. These books, which can live on a bookshelf actually contain the phone.

Each page reveals the elements of the phone in the right order, helping the user to set up the sim card, the battery and even slide the case onto the phone.

The second book is the main manual – the phone actually slots into this and becomes the center of attention.

Arrows point to the exact locations the user should press, avoiding confusion and eliminating the feeling of being lost in a menu.

We met people who still had brand new digital cameras in their box, because they were waiting for their nephew or daughter to come and teach them how to use it.

We wanted to create a special item that could be kept on a bookshelf, drawing on users strengths and familiar learning methods. Instructions were clearly written and kept to a friendly and non-technological tone without feeling patronising.

Instead of overwhelming the user with unnecessary information and special offers, each section logically follows the next, explaining the benefits of every function to the reader to motivate them to learn more.

By creating a magical out of box experience the users can be motivated and supported to learn almost any piece of technology, independently, in a comfortable and stress free fashion.