The Twettle project that I worked on with Murat received global acclaim. We had numerous funding offers after it exploded on the web, it made its way in to the papers, I had an interview on Radio 5 and we were even approached to appear on TV.
Murat posted the final visual design that i produced and story of the Twettle on his incredibly popular blog Mobile Inc.
Now is my chance to tell the story of the Twettle from the eyes of the product designer…..
Murat is the tech genius, he is a Mobile Creative/UX Designer. I am the product designer with an interior design/point of sale background.
In the beginning:
Murat and I are forever talking about how we can make our millions, the night the idea of the Twettle was conceived was no different. We were in a bar in Clapham, Murat put it to me that he had an idea that he would like to collaborate on and I spent the best part of an hour trying to keep up as he pitched an idea to me about putting tech in appliances that could talk to our Twitter accounts.
Problem No.1 At the time i didnt use Twitter, I was a Facebook disciple, I have started tweeting since and and appreciate it for what it is – a valuable tool for networking and keeping up with current trends in your field whilst retaining the fun element of Facebook – friends, contact etc.
But the fact that i wasnt a ‘tweeter’ at the time and the fact I couldnt understand the tech jargon coming out of Murat’s mouth proved difficult.
The idea began as a piece of technology that enabled a manufacturers device to talk to APIs – Twitter, Facebook etc.
I still don’t know what an API is and Murat went blue in the face trying to explain it to me. What i did understand was that we needed to give this technology an image it needed to become a product, a brand or part of one. Murat was already keen on implementing this tech within hardware, appliances such as washing machines and toasters were discovered on the internet, but these were ‘hacks’ as Murat calls them. Circuit boards strapped to the side of a toaster, no product design just exploring the tech, the basis of the idea that Murat had developed.
This is where I came in. We umm’d and ahhh’d about what sort of product we could get on the shelf, playing with different names and then it came round to the kettle. Shortly after mentioning names like The Kwittle and The Twattle we came up with the Twettle. The name stuck.
We had a name and a vessel for Murats fancy idea now to get down to designing the thing. Early conversations involved a lot of talk about the Bugatti kettle – the sexiest tea making device on the market and somewhere deep in the harddrive of my computer there is a 3D model and render of a bugatti kettle with our custom Twettle interface and logo on it.
Suffice to say we would have either ended up in jail for putting that design on the net or would have bankrupted ourselves trying to have it prototyped. Mass production of a kettle in polished chrome with flush mounted L.E.D screens was not going to happen! We needed to think fun, affordable and in-brand. So of course we chose plastic.
The Twettle required status lights on it, much like you find on a router for power, data, usb. These went on the back and base. Murat’s intention was for the wifi module to be placed in the coreless base.
Along the way different design tweeks were necessary as we couldnt do some of the things we originally intended due to production cost. Due to connectivity issues and to allow the device to ‘talk’ we needed to fit an L.E.D screen in to the base which acts as an input screen to select wireless networks and enter WEP keys. Again cost stopped us from propsing a sleek ipod style rolling wheel or touch screen.
The form of the kettle itself started to take shape with soft curves to the top, a buggatti style lid and the smallest profile spout possible. The base tapers in with an embossed Twettle logo. All very simple, but effective, accessible and possessing real potential to find its way to the shelves. Of course there would be redesign after redesign at the prototyping stage but we felt we really had a product in our hands with this design. A strong identity for the Twettle.
It was time for Murat to take this and see what the public thought. He completed an extensive blog post about our adventure, explaining in depth about how the technology could work within this vessel and our decisions at the product design stage. He posted on his site and we watched, waited and after a week conscined it to our portfolios as a bit of fun.
Murat soon after took a work opportunity in Australia and we started to forget about the Twettle, I would often get updates from Murat that people had been reading the post, but us becoming the next Zuckerbergs? Unlikely….
However one day i received a call from an excited Murat at 4am English time, saying it had exploded on the web. Gizmodo and wired had both featured it on their blogs and according to Murat it was going to go mad.
He was right. In the next few days it really did blow up. I received a call from a freelance reporter saying that he had seen the blog post and the increasing coverage on the net and that he wanted to get it in to the papers, he thought it was going to be ‘the next big thing’. I had a photographer sent over to my studio in Kings Cross and several unattractive photos taken of me surrounded by print outs of the renders i had produced.
My ugly mug made it in to the Metro newspaper and in Murats absence I even bagged a slot on a live talk-show on Radio 5. The press coverage continued to grow with the Twettle making its way on to BBC China online, in to Discovery Channel Magazine, a Dutch Gadget Mag and we were even approached by the BBC to appear on Dragons Den……we politely declined.
Due to time, schedules and prototyping costs we put the Twettle on hold and in to our portfolios but it was great fun collaborating with Murat on an exciting idea and designing a product. Not least to have it recognised and praised around the world.
See some links below of press featuring the Twettle…
Murat is a UX Senior Creative. Check out his blog www.mobileinc.co.uk. His work and knowledge of mobile/web/user experience is awesome.