May 2006

Designing for high volume production

Asus’s value line notebook, the A8, was released in February 2006 and was to become the company’s best-selling portable computing product at the time, mainly due to the combination of a great set of features, and a very small price tag.

Adressing the needs of a young and highly mobile user

The research that the product planning was based upon, showed that our target audience desired an affordable thin and light product to be their all-in-one computing solution for both work and leisure. The young customer that the A8 was designed for, would use the product over the course of several years, so making the laptop easy to upgrade by the user was essential.
A slim package that weighs a mere five pounds, the Asus A8 delivers a stunning visual performance due to a high resolution 14″ display powered by an Nvidia GeForce graphics card. High quality stereo speakers and a built-in S/PDIF connection deliver realistic audio performance to complete the product’s multimedia experience, while the notebook’s ExpressCard bay allows for modular expansion of memory, communications, and storage at low cost and in a small form factor.

Aesthetic, yet affordable

Guiding Ken Wang through the industrial design process, we aimed to create a notebook computer that was as simple as possible in its appearance, so that it would easily blend into the busy lives of our customers. Highlighting the slimness of the product, we defined a stringent set of shapes, colors and materials and integrated design elements like speakers and buttons visually. An industry-first, we devised a buttonless trackpad that featured left and right click zones, as well as a dedicated area for scrolling, two years before Apple adopted the technology.
Despite the lack of extensive use of different materials, we achieved a refined look of the product through the use of very fine surface details and the subtle implementation of textures and finishes.