Increasing Profitability Central to SID Display Week Business Conference

At the 2015 SID Display Week conference in San Jose, CA, the Business Conference organized by IHS held June 1 focused on the overarching goal of Finding Ways to Increase (Display Industry) Profitability.  As I reported in my June 4 Display Daily column, one session of the Business Conference addressed the role to be played by providing consumers with a better user experience (UX) as a potential means to increase profitability.

As display industry analysts know, profit margins in the $100 Billion plus annual market for displays have oftentimes been elusive for some tiers of the business.  My Display Daily SID Business Conference article described Intel’s efforts as presented by Dr. Achin Bhowmik, Vice President, Intel, to improve the computer human interface (CHI) and user experience (UX) in order to add value to display systems and applications.  In addition to the Intel presentation, speakers from Dell, Sharp, and Huawei also provided their views of the value of UX features and design.

Dr. Erin Walline, Director of Engineering – User Experience and Design, Dell, presented on Customer-Led Design @Dell.  Dr. Walline described her team’s engineering efforts as taking a Human System Engineering approach.  She reported that design efforts at Dell are divided into several component activities:  Surface Design, Industrial Design, Packaging Design, User Experience Design and Next Gen Design.  In UX design, her group addresses usability engineering, human factors and ergonomics, software design and “insights.”

Dr. Walline’s presentation provided a broad overview of the role of User Experience and Design in a multinational consumer electronics developer.  She cited three key global trends that inform her team’s design work:  “Mobility is king, Speed is crucial, and Unified experiences.”  As an example of the need for and importance of Unified experience, she cited the lack of common gestural interface vocabulary as a barrier to acceptance of this form of user interface.  In another concrete example, she cited the new Dell XPS 13 notebook PC (photo below) with a 3200×1800 (276 ppi) IGZO-backplane touch-screen LCD developed in partnership with Sharp as a design example.

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Source: Dr. Erin Walline, Dell

The Dell XPS 13, of which Dr. Walline is clearly proud, is a fine design example and is an interesting point of comparison with Apple’s new Macbook.  The design of the Dell XPS 13 and the new Macbook are fine illustrations of creating value, and ostensibly profit, through design.  As a user of the XPS 13, I spoke to Dr. Walline after her presentation thanking her and noting that my biggest criticism of the XPS 13 was simply the omission of a thumb slot (as employed on Macbooks) for opening the display.  She smiled and indicated that perhaps some excess elegance in design was employed that would perhaps be corrected in future products.  As specific examples of experience definition, usage modelling, and usability engineering, she cited the XPS 13 development as an example of experience design for touch using usage modeling (illustrations below) and the resulting design implications.

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Source: Dr. Erin Walline, Dell

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Source: Dr. Erin Walline, Dell

By the conclusion of her presentation, I was convinced that Dell is striving to follow the example set by Apple and is working to add value and increase profitability through consumer electronics product design from each and every perspective.  -  Phil Wright

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