IDEO is a design firm that offers “innovation strategy” and “design services” in any conceivable field. The name deceives most people into believing that it’s an acronym or a foreign word, but actually comes from ideo-, the combining form of the word idea. It is pronounced as EYE-deeoh. The most fascinating aspect of this company is that they don’t specialize in designing in a particular field, such as industrial, mechanical or human- computer interface, to mention a few prominent design fields. The focus of the company is rather to innovate during the process of design.
“Head in the sky….feet on the ground”
Their innovations are ambitious (sometimes more than that), but are based on solid research, thus resulting in products that are not only mind boggling, but also real. IDEO has contributed to the development of many wellknown innovations, including the first mouse for Apple and the world’s first laptop computer. Other projects include technology for Prada’s New York flagship store; the Handspring Treo; “Dilbert’s Ultimate Cubicle” for Scott Adams; interiors for Amtrak’s Acela high-speed train; HealtheTech’s BodyGem, a handheld metabolic meter; the Leap Chair for Steelcase; insulin pens for Eli Lilly; the Palm V; Polaroid’s I-Zone instant camera; retail and work environments for Xerox, HP, and Steelcase; Zyliss kitchen gadgets; Oral-B’s soft-grip kids’ toothbrushes; and Crest’s Neat Squeeze stand-up toothpaste tube.
IDEO’s clients view innovation as key to competitive advantage. Their clients range from start-ups to established brands in diverse industries, including communications, computers, consumer and industrial goods, furniture, medical devices, retail and work environments, sporting equipment, toys, transportation, and more.
IDEO screams “innovation, innovation”. And the very same motto had to be translated into online space. The website had to have a very creative, youthful feel, at the same time not give an impression that a bunch of bubble-gum chewing kids are running the show. One look and you are certain about both. The website is largely created in HTML, with a few flash clips for certain features, showcases and studies. The main purpose of the website is for IDEO to create an online presence and to represent itself in the digital space. Its audience would include
- Prospective clients.
- Designers/ Students.
- Prospective employees.
The design of the website by itself, must have been an interesting challenge for the company as most of its audience would be moderately to extremely tech-savvy and a sizeable chunk of them would be ‘early adopters’. This means that a lot of people, including prospective clients and employees would judge the company largely on the expressive power and design of the website.