How did the Zephyrus Duo start from a simple idea to become one of the most innovative laptops in 2020? We speak to the lead designer for the Zephyrus Duo, Li Qing, to find out how her team uses the V-model design process to define and realize the concept. The V-model encapsulates the design process with two goals, “are we building the right thing?” and “are we building it right?” Both segments are reflective of each other and it helps the team validate the process from start to finish.
Phase 0: User Research Before starting the project, her team needed to understand how a second screen improves the overall gaming experience. Their research found out that having a second screen does help improve the overall gaming experience and that most gamers have “duo” usages for their laptop, primarily for gaming and content creating.
Phase 1: Product Factor · Design Ideation · Sketch Model Armed with a clear understanding of the users, the design team began to define the “product factor” by focusing on the usage and styling. One obstacle they had to address was decreasing the distraction of the second screen while gaming. They challenged themselves to create an angled second screen where the gamers could quickly glance at the second screen while maintaining their focus on the main screen.
Subsequently, the “design ideation” stage brings together the Industrial Design (ID) and Mechanical Engineering (ME) teams where the design team sketched concepts that would become the foundation of the Zephyrus Duo design. There were many rounds of ideation, iteration and discussion about the feasibility and functionality of the concepts.
When the Designers and Engineers came to a consensus, a “Sketch Model” (simple prototype) was produced to examine the structure and potential hardware layout.
Phase 2: System Design · Hard Model · Engineering DesignThe “System Design” stage is the design and placement of the interior of the laptop, the designers would work closely with the Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers and thermal team. As there are limitations in various components and hardware, they would need to redesign or rearrange certain components to ensure that it fits perfectly.
“Hard Model”, a fully functional prototype (no electrical component), would be created when they have finalised on the system design. The designers have taken into consideration the hardware and mechanical limitations to finalise on the structure of the laptop.
The next stage is the “Engineering Stage”, where the design is taken to the manufacturing facility where they can discuss, plan and look into the details for mass production.
The first half of the V-model process is extremely important, as it is the foundation of the entire process. The designers and engineers not only need to have the knowledge and expertise but also study each component extensively to pre-empt any issues that may occur in the manufacturing process.
Phase 3: SR (Sample Run) Model
Phase 3 marks the turning point of the V-model as the team began to see the fruits of their labour. Before the laptop is mass-produced, they would build an “SR Model” for the team to test. At this stage, the testing is done for all aspects of the laptop, including both software and hardware to ensure that the device could work. The design team would discuss with various parties involved in the project to fine-tune the design and structure of the laptop.
Phase 4: Production · ER (Engineering Run) Model · Tooling Start · PR (Pilot Run) ModelUpon completion of the various tests on the SR model, Phase 4 signals the start of the mass production of the Zephyrus Duo. Testing is done on the ER model, which is a final production model, to ensure that there are no issues in the final production stage.
This is closely followed by the “Tooling Start” stage, where the manufacturing vendor began using various moulds, tools and CNC parts to kick off the laptop production process. At this stage, the design team has to ensure that their designs meet the requirements set by the manufacturing machines. Once the manufacturing process has been fine-tuned, the production plant will test the mass production process by creating a few “PR model” in the pilot run to ensure that it runs smoothly. The designers would check the PR model for any flaws and ensure that the CMF (Colour material finishing) of the Zephyrus Duo is perfect.
Phase 5: Design Story · Sales Feedback · Marketing
In the final phase, the design team worked with the Sales and Marketing teams to share the Zephyrus Duo value and design process. More information on the Zephyrus Duo design story is found on their Behance page.
As the PR Model is close to the actual product, the designers and engineers would tweak the laptop based on the sales and marketing team perspective on the potential customer segment and market expectation.
The last step in the V-model process is where the design team would work with the marketing team to prepare various collaterals for the launch of the device.
“In order to create a good product, we cannot just focus only on the design but the entire process as a whole. To propose feasible designs, we (designers) need to gain knowledge from the various engineers to learn about the strengths and limitations of each components” – Li Qing, Design Lead
Together with good teamwork and the guidance of the V-model, all the teams in Singapore and Taiwan were able to collaborate to create Zephyrus Duo, a functional gaming laptop not just for gamers but professionals as well.
Get to know more about the Zephyrus Duo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s3GouCS_34