Hey Google

“Data is growing faster than ever before and by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet…Within five years there will be over 50 billion smart connected devices in the world, all developed to collect, analyze and share data.” 

Google Home Mini Voice Assistant Speaker Coral
Google Home Mini Voice Assistant Speaker Chalk

Google home mini is a smart speaker with the Google Assistant built in. It is able to recognize the user’s voice. The users are able to get the answers to the weather, traffic, finance, sports and etc from it. It will also help with the user’s schedule and reminders. Google home mini can be connected to other smart devices such as Philips Hue lightbulb, and Apps like Spotify and YouTube. Our homes can be controlled and monitored by voice with Google Assistant App and those smart-home gadgets.

Google home mini is not just designed to be functional but also to fit in the mood of our homes. The Google home mini is about the size of our palm, which takes very little space and fits seamlessly into our living environment. The circular shape of Google home mini creates harmony as circles are considered as a complete and perfect shape and many natural elements are in the shape of circle, such as the planets. Google home mini is available in Chalk(grey fabric & white plastic), Charcoal(black), and Coral(a pinkish colour). Different colours can create different moods, and atmosphere. Grey is the shade between white and black which is a neutral colour that represents balance. The Chalk mini gives a clean and neutral look with grey and white. Further, Black is often associated with power, strength, elegance, and authority. Having a small portion of black accessories at home can make the whole interior looks sophisticated and classy. Charcoal mini would be a good choice is someone wants to add some elegant element to their homes. Moreover, Coral is Pantone’s 2019 color of the year. Pantone described Living Coral as a color of carefree happiness. A press release says it “symbolizes our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits”—a feeling that, perhaps, people might be craving in today’s landscape. A tint of coral might be able to make our living environment more lively. Lastly, the choice of materials brings out the home accent of Google home mini. The top of it is wrapped by woven fabric while the base is cover with hard plastic casing. Home is where we want to have comfort, and that is probably the reason why almost 80% of it is covered with soft fabric. The Fabric surface is also touchable when the user interacts with the device.

All in all, despite the controversy of the Google Home Assistant Speaker, I would like to place it at the middle of the diagram. It is because of the good balance among its functionality, human factors, and emotion. It is a device that provides smart home solutions, increase user’s efficiency, and it is also designed to evoke comfortable home feelings.






Design with Considerations

Morphy Richards was founded as a manufacturing company in 1936 by Morphy, an engineer, and Richards a salesman. Their mission was to design aesthetic yet affordable electrical items for the average income family. As we can see that this kettle contains subtle curves at the body of the kettle and interesting handle as compared to other contemporary electric kettles in the market which normally place the handle at the side of the kettle. Also, this kettle seems to be stable with the wide base and low center of gravity which might make the users feel safe just by looking at its form. Its handle looks like a “ring” that connects to the body of the kettle. The “ring” element is also used in the design of the lid which makes the overall design friendly and lively as shapes like ellipses and ovals tend to express positive emotions. This kettle is also available in other earthy colours such as brown. The colour scheme and the matte finishing gives the electronic product some touches of nature. Therefore, I think that this product leans towards the Emotion in the diagram as its overall design focus more on the user’s feeling through the lines, shapes, mass, and colours, as well as by having the traditional kettle elements in the electric kettle design.

Product Reviews


Morphy Richards Traditional Kettle
Alessi 9093 kettle designed by Michael Graves in 1985

The first product that caught my attention at Harvey Norman is the Morphy Richards traditional kettle. The handle with thin metal and thicker plastic and the shape of the body remind me of the iconic Alessi 9093 kettle designed by Michael Graves in 1985. Alessi 9093 kettle works with the stove while the Morphy Richards electric kettles are designed for the contemporary lifestyle. Morphy Richards was founded as a manufacturing company in 1936 by Morphy, an engineer, and Richards a salesman. Their mission was to design aesthetic yet affordable electrical items for the average income family. It seems like they are still carrying the mission to create aesthetically pleasing products at a reasonable price. Harvey Norman is selling Morphy Richards kettle at S$129 while the Alessi 9093 kettle costs almost S$200. Perhaps, Morphy Richards would like to bring the vintage mood and the functionality into the modern house within the average buyer’s budget.


Philips HUE at Courts
Philips Starter kit E27

Philips HUE Single bulb E27
The product that I am interested in Courts is the Philips HUE, a smart lighting system that allows the users to control the light and create the mood of the room. It works of smart devices such as Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and etc. Lighting used to be just the equipment to provide light when the sun goes down. However, as technology developed and our lifestyle change, we tend to pay more attention to our feeling and experience. Hence, products like Philips HUE is designed to light up the room as well as the mood. Now we could have better control of our living environment and be more integrated with our homes.



Ingvar Kamprad established IKEA in 1943 with his belief: “ people not as well off should be given the same opportunities as those who are.” IKEA is known for its affordable flat packed Scandinavian style furniture which brings Hygge to millions of homes IKEA always stick to its beliefs to produce good designs with simplicity no matter how crazy the trend is. For instance, IKEA’s iconic BILLY bookshelf designed by one of the IKEA’s first employees, Gillis Lundgren. Lundgren was born in Sweden in 1929, studied at the Malmö Institute of Technology, and joined IKEA in 1953. Lundgren grew with the IKEA from a small startup into a multinational corporation. He also had his contribution to the flat-pack, self-assembly concept. He once removed the legs of the table so it would fit into the car, and he mentioned this story when he received the Swedish Tenzing Prize for innovators in 2012.

Gillis Lundgren

“I told Ingvar that I think that table takes too much darn space. I think we should unscrew the legs and put them under the table,” he said.

IKEA’s iconic BILLY bookshelf designed by Gillis Lundgren

BILLY is functional and flexible storage furniture that allows individuals to add personality to the design instead of showing off the designer’s fashion status. The simplicity of BILLY had been appreciated by its users in the market for 40 years. I would consider it as a product that is designed for everyone and all the time.