Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Definition: Design Your Own/ Create Your Own

This is part of my series of blog posts where I define common terms that are related with mass customization. Also see the definitions for mass-customization and co-creation

This is pretty straight forward. “Design Your Own" and "Create Your Own" is a subset of mass customization. On a "design/create your own" website, you can use a configurator to specify the different elements of a product (the base chocolate and toppings of a chocolate bar, the color of a bike, the fabric, cuffs and pockets of a shirt, the shape and leather of a shoe, the style and gemstones of an earring, …). Then the provider of that website makes the product for you according to your specifications. 

In short, the two defining aspects of Design-Your-Own are that you are able to pick and choose different modules of a product in a configurator, and that it’s an experience that is meant to be fun. 

The experience


A service that is fun or enjoyable is essentially a good experience. Take your last visit to the hair salon: If your visit was only about the end-result (a nice hair cut), they probably wouldn’t have bothered much about the ambience of the store or the water temperature when they washed your hair. But your time in the hair salon is an experience, something that more and more service providers recognize.

imageA mass customized good is very much related to a service, and with that it has the potential to be a good experience. The act of making a product just for you has many aspects of a service - it’s personal, and it’s an activity that the company engages in just for you. Also, the design-your-own offering is mostly online, where consumer experience not only can but should be optimized based on the wonderful data that is provided to you thanks to Google Analytics and the likes. 

imageIn the “Customization 500” study, it turned out that the “fun of configuration" had the highest impact on the net promoter score for design-your-own offering. What that essentially means for you, the mass customizer: If you can make the design process on the website fun, if you can turn it into a wow-ing experience, you are likely to generate word of mouth and with that essentially free marketing. “Fun on configuration” scored significantly higher than “usability of configurator”, “added value of product” and even the “basic value of the product”. So, go and optimize your website - for fun!

p.s. For more on mass customization and experience, follow @joepine on Twitter. 

The configurator

A configurator most typically lets you choose from different “modules” that make up the product - such as colors in the design of a sneaker with NikeiD, or the base chocolate and toppings for a customized chocolate bar with chocri. Also, design your own includes a configurator such as Zazzle provides it, where you can upload your own images and enter your own texts to create a personalized product. 


Configurators based on Flash or similar usually have great visualizations (see for example laudividni.com), but are harder to to update. But the better the visualization, the easier it is for the “designer” to devise a creation they like. Keep in mind that most people don’t have deep expertise in the product - thus an easy to use and visually strong configurator is important. 

Here’s an overview of the different terms:



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