June 2008

How do you design the „generation 2“ of a successful product?

In 2007 I was lucky enough to be working with Leapfrog – a company that I truly admire – on their Leapster 2; a connected gaming and learning console for kids. The first generation product had been immensely successful due to its educational value and its durability, and Leapfrog’s Director of Industrial Design Jason Avery asked to improve the console beyond the added USB connectivity that the engineering team implemented and that would enable download of software without a cartridge.

Drastically improved ergonomics

Leading the team that included Marta Michalowska and Helen Chen, we observed that children put the first generation device on the ground because it was too bulky. The rounded back surface made it difficult to use the device in such a way. We designed Leapster 2 to better fit into a child’s hand, reduced volume and weight and integrated a flat surface along the product’s back, so that it could be placed flat on the floor when used in this manner.
The result of our work was a successful product that would be sold for several years and loved by children and their parents all around the world.

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