Have you ever wondered how the industrial design team at Plantronics goes from concept to creation?
Jennifer Kehoe, Plantronics’ global product marketing manager sat down with John Kelley, Plantronics’ principal industrial designer, for a behind the scenes, first-look, at the creation of the Voyager 6200 UC headset. The innovative neckband headset, designed with the enterprise in mind, provides the versatility needed in today’s workforce while maintaining a consumer product aesthetic. Learn more about the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC design process in the latest Q&A with Jennifer and John.
Jennifer: Who did you have in mind to use the Voyager 6200 UC?
John: The objective for the Voyager 6200 UC was to deliver a headset that someone can wear all day, in a way that is unobtrusive and easily accessible when needed. We imagined connected professionals in the office and on the move who need professional-grade audio performance for mobile and PC calls and who expect immersive stereo for listening to music. The headset had to allow for seamless switching between mobile, UC calls and immersive music. We also took into account professionals who need to quickly make themselves available for impromptu in-person conversations.
Jennifer: What inspired the design of Voyager 6200 UC?
John: The design was fully inspired by the user experience. The ear interface and earbud needed to be comfortable, stable, occluding, fit nearly all ear sizes and shapes and be easy to put on and take off. The neckband needed to contour to a variety of users and be comfortable. The goal is for users to forget they are even wearing a neckband headset.
Once we worked out the fundamentals of the fit, comfort and location of the components we then turned our attention to the aesthetics. The design’s intent is to be seamless and simple while showcasing the performance attributes of the headset. The neckband is primarily constructed of supple rubber for flexibility and grip. The speaker and microphone covers are made from physical vapor deposition (PVD) coated stainless steel showcasing the performance attributes.
Jennifer: What is the main functionality you needed to meet with design?
John: Voyager 6200 UC allows you to take calls, conference and listen to premium immersive stereo music from anywhere in the office. The neckband vibrates as a subtle alert to incoming calls from your PC or cell phone without disturbing others. When a call comes in, you can quickly insert one or both earbuds depending on your preference. Red LED lights pulse on the neckband to let others know that you are on a call.
Jennifer: What was the industrial design process like for the Voyager 6200 UC?
John: Voyager 6200 UC was designed from the ground up. The early part of the design process focused on fit, comfort and usability. Countless prototypes of the neckband and earbuds were developed along with many rounds of human-factor testing. A lot of refinement went into the creation of the rubber neckband, PVD coated microphone and speaker covers for a seamless manufacturable design.
Jennifer: Can you explain the design element behind the bright-red earbud cables?
John: The vibrant red-orange color, referred to as “lava” is unique to the Plantronics brand. The industrial design team tries to incorporate the color into products where appropriate. In the case of the Voyager 6200 UC, the lava cables are a visual cue that you have earbuds on. This is an important design element for a collaborative open-office environment.