What is a digital product?

In the last 16 years I worked on many digital products from their inception to the final release and the following improvements. I’ve had a lot of experience both as a consultant, event manager and in the big company where I work today.

I’ve really a lot of things to write about and I’ve even a great desire to make myself known. Indeed I decided that during this 2023 I’ll write about my job as Digital Product Manager but in a different way. I feel indeed more like a digital construction worker and so I’ll post more about fundamentals, bricks and principles of digital products.

I managed apps and sites designed for communicating and selling products or services, covering almost any kind of industries.

During these years I developed my method based on my Philosophy degree and my “humanistic” approach. I chose to be a Product Manager because of my strategic view, my attention to detail, my ability to simplify complex concepts and communicating them effectively. So after this long premise it’s time to start from the basics:

what is a digital product?

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Improving cars climate controls using vocal assistants

Usability of new cars digital screens is a safety and CX problem. On my “Cars digital experience analysis” article I already listed the main functions that should be always accessible while driving.

Mercedes S Class 2021

Today I’ll focus on climate controls that in some cars are disappearing for economic and style reasons. They are indeed really expensive to design and produce and they need always some space precious space to be positioned.

Talking about climate controls some automakers like Tesla, VW and Mercedes are mastering the famous “less is more” line but what about accessibility?

My idea is to use vocal commands not only for modifying the temperature or solving specific tasks, but even for opening main sections on the infotainment screen.

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The multiverse of multiverses and my NFTs

I approached seriously crypto in 2016 when I was still on time for becoming rich if I had some more money to invest. Unfortunately I went deep on the topic just enough to understand the technical fundamentals and testing some digital and physical wallets.

This year indeed I came back on the blockchain topics when NFTs started to appear on my news feed. So as i did for crypto, I decided to experiment first searching on the web, then reading about this world on Twtter, Discord and Reddit where crypto art and crypto wealth is exploding.

At first I was confused because technical and ethical concepts were mixed with marketing, artistic and money investment topics. Then I created my personal view of NFT and Multiverse that guided me on my Digital Art research.

Multiverse is a digital environment where everyone have a unique identity and the real ownership of what has produced or bought.

Let me explain.
“Multiverse is a digital environment where everyone have a unique identity..” = we will have a multiverse of multiverses but for accessing all of them we’ll have a unique protocol and identity. I still don’t know if the multiverses will be 3D worlds, apps, videogames or community sites, but I’m sure that we’ll have the same digital identity everywhere.

“..the real ownership of what has produced or bought” = digital goods will continue to be replicable and ephemeral, but people will have the certified ownership of something thanks to the blockchain. This means that digital goods will have an economic value that is exchangeable between people and within all the multiverses.

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Cars digital experience analysis and some ideas

Digital cockpits and infotainment screens are becoming one of the most important components of modern cars interior. As automotive enthusiast and digital professional I’ve always looked at them as a painter look at a white canvas. Their design indeed could influence the customer experience as much as electric motors are already doing in all the automotive industry.

Looking admired to all the systems that are equipping new cars, I feel that there’s room for more simplification, so I did my analysis starting from the position of the displays and then on the information architecture.

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The navigation apps street number problem

When I design navigation apps and sites I always think how to keep users researches fast, efficient and correct. In my experience, even as common user, the address research is a real complex phase for two main reasons:

1) Typing mistakes caused by complex street names, sometimes even in languages that users don’t know. In Italy for example, a part from the Italian language, we call streets and squares in different ways depending on their dimensions (street= via, viale, vicolo, corso etc; square= piazza, piazzale, largo etc)
2) Inserting the street number using the autocomplete/suggestions drop-down list

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Improving passengers behaviour using nudge theory

In the article The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations the author writes about the nudge theories strategies adopted by the West Japan Railways for improving good passengers behaviours and decreasing suicides.

With 13 billions of passengers per year, the Japan’s railway network is famous for its punctuality and for the stations overcrowding. As everybody should know, the public transportation punctuality is not just a question of planning, vehicles or infrastructure. Often the bad passengers and other vehicle behaviours can cause a strong efficiency decrease.

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How ​Google wants monetize self-driving cars like it already monetizes Internet

Google has started its self-driving project in 2009 and in 2016 it funded a completely new company called Waymo. Google today is one of the first company that put on the road level 4 autonomous vehicles and that says to have driven 3.5 million of autonomous kilometers in public roads.

In the autonomous vehicles arena there are many other interesting competitors like Bosch, Nvidia, Apple, Tesla and Navya that opened the orders for its Autonom Cab. We can’t even forget all the other traditional automakers like Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda and Daimler that are working on autonomous cars as the only future possible for their business. So, even if the competition is really high, for me Google will dominate self-driving market like it is dominating Internet but let me explain how starting from a schematisation of what Google did for the web.

As you can see Google created an ecosystem based on technologies, services, contents and advertising more or less​ in the same ​way it is​ doing with its mobility company WaymoWaymo indeed created its own technology that is supposed to be designed “just” to drive autonomously around the city like Gmail was designed just for sending emails, Google Search just for indexing the web and YouTube just for sharing videos.

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Tesla Model 3 agile car development framework

When I wrote about the Tesla Model 3 I focused on design , infotainment system and its pre-order success. Today indeed I write about the production approach that, reading the recent news about skipping the beta testing, is going to be assimilated to the agile software development framework.

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The led headlight innovation by Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan

Looking at the recent Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan, I was impressed by the led headlamps colour. At first I thought that it was only a show car like other concept at the Auto Shanghai Motor Show, but then its design was so evolutive that I understood that Daimler was introducing and testing a relevant design innovation.

The headlights are one of the most important part of the car’s design. Since when led technology was incorporated in headlights introducing the “day-light” concept, I was pretty impressed by the light signatures that the automotive companies were creating. Today any modern car in any advanced market could be sold without day-light led in the headlights, but even if the lighting market has a multitude of technologies, what puts in common all the solutions is the color. All led lights are white. No exception. No creativity. No innovation.

I think that this decision is obvious because the “white ice” color is the most visible, but considering that leds today have more a design function than a functional function is time to innovate.

The Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan indeed isn’t just a concept car: it is a beautiful led headlights innovation test that will change all the automotive industry. I’m pretty happy that finally an automotive company disrupted the evolutive lighting design, bringing a new concept in one of the most visible design part of their car. It is one of the more interesting “ready to production” exterior design innovation that I’ve seen in the last two years and the fact that a luxury company like Mercedes-Benz launched a project like this, make me really confident about the creative future for the cars led lights design.

Following what Merceded-Benz writes on its website talking about the core innovation of the Concept A Sedan:

Guideline: “Stimulating Contrast”.

The headlamps with their eyebrows as a typical feature of the brand as well as the striking grid structure on the inside guarantee a confident look – and a simultaneously high recognition value. The structural sculpture that has been broken down in detail represents a technically based counterpole to the sensual exterior – “stimulating contrast” is one of the six guiding principles of Mercedes-Benz design. The grid structure in the lamps has been coated with a UV paint and it is exposed to ultraviolet light. As a result, the headlamps “glow” in different colours, depending on the light medium – the daytime running lamps, for instance, are white

In my memory, recently only Suzuki and Chevrolet put colors in the headlights, but not using the led technology. Instead they just put some coloured plastics inside the headlights giving to the car a really differentiating design that indeed is helping the commercial succes of the Suzuki Vitara and of the Chevrolet Onix.

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“Featured contents” function design for instant messaging apps

Recently I studied IM Bots, but unfortunately every time that I experienced them on a Facebook Messenger I felt unsatisfied. Bots and AI are for sure the personal assistants of the future, but we must wait for their evolution and for our language adaptation (read my posts about Bots: Chatbots are contents, not conversations and Facebook Messenger’s Bots are direct, customizable and automated communication channels, not personal assistants).

Intead of Bots, in these months I used many times a lot of Chat Customer Services on some companies web sites and on Messenger. As all the studies say, communicating with a company through our favourite instant messaging app is smarter than downloading any branded app or using the old-fashioned email. My experience was great and these companies increased loyalty and my admiration.

Using Whatsapp, Messenger, Telgram or WeChat for companies is a great challenge for many technical and communicational factors:

  • Technical, because CRMs should access to IM platforms for identifying users and managing the requests trafic.
  • Communicational, because some contents should be always and easily available for customers instead of lose in the chat’s flow.

As a Product Manager I focused on the second problem and, starting from a Whatsapp-like layout, I designed the “Featured contents” function. The scope of this function is to enrich the discussion between the customer and the company saving the requested contents in a reserved area of the app.
Watch the “Featured contents” gif animation for understanding how it function in the direct relationship between a Hotel and its customer.

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