Until now, the mobile sound market has offered consumers the choice between private sound (headphones) and public sound (mobile speakers) – to enjoy music individually or to fill a space with shared sound.
Our vision was to give consumers the best of both worlds. We wanted to create a device that allowed consumers to enjoy their own personal, intimate sound experience, while continuing to interact with their surroundings by keeping their ears free.
In making Batband a reality, we are giving users the opportunity to enjoy an entirely unique sound experience embodied in a product with a sleek, minimalist design. To create this experience, we collaborated with the design studio Postler Ferguson and incorporated a technology called bone conduction, giving users a new way to enjoy their own personal sound.
We equipped Batband with Bluetooth connectivity and smart features such as a microphone, so the device can be used to make calls and capture sound. The side of the device features an intuitive touch-sensitive interface that allows you to take total control of your sound experience.
Creating a new market category
Before Batband, consumers had to choose between two types of sound experience: public and private. Loudspeakers enable a public and social experience; whereas earphones and headphones grant a private and personal one. The former lacks privacy, while the latter closes the user off from the world.
We wanted to create a sound experience that took from both private and public to develop a new category in the mobile audio market enjoyment. To this end, we developed a thorough user profile study and analysed multiple scenarios of use where our product would outperform loudspeakers and headphones. Our product allows you to choose your own background music, while keeping your ears free to communicate with friends and colleagues. Batband enables you to remain social and collaborative as well as aware of your surroundings, while still enjoying your individual sound experience
Ideation & Design
Unique integration of design and technology
The product that gives form to this unparalleled sound experience was the result of a fusion of two pillars: technology and design. We worked meticulously with these two elements, putting our team of top engineers and designers through their paces every step of the way in order to bring our idea to fruition.
The result of this unique merging of elements is a cutting-edge device that’s at once practical, stylish and futuristic.
Putting the user first
From the beginning of the design process, we clearly identified user experience as our top priority. Our main goal was to create an intuitive, high-quality product that would provide users with a unique and memorable sound experience.
In adherence to this human-centric design approach, we involved our entire team. Our experts in product design, UX, engineering, graphic design, branding, art direction, packaging, audiovisuals and communication all worked together as a unit in this ambitious project.
The fast-track journey from concept to market
We wanted a highly-functional product that connects seamlessly with users’ devices and brought clear advantages to their daily lives. We spent over 18 months developing and integrating features until the initial proof of concept; followed by testing how the device performed and closely studying how users were responding to it. In collaboration with the Innovation Centre of Bangor University, we worked through various prototypes until we reached a point that satisfied our high expectations before launching the funding campaign.
Making Batband a reality
Our Studio Banana team was immersed in each and every stage of product development and design. From the integration of tech features, to the iterative design prototyping and testing, we cut no corners to ensure that Batband would deliver the unique experience we had all envisioned.
In keeping with the innovative sound-concept it represents, we designed Batband to be sleek and minimalist. Our engineers settled on the use of lightweight spring steel to help keep the band in place around the back of the head, while a padded lining ensures maximum comfort. We developed simple and intuitive touch controls that allow the user to adjust settings while on the go.
Building a new brand
Our aim was to align the brand with the sophistication of the product through a visual language that positions it uniquely in the broader audio market. To achieve this, we sought to highlight the emotional value of the device by making its purpose abundantly clear to the user (considering that until now, there’s been nothing quite like it on the market). We chose to convey this using a refined visual language, resulting in an aesthetic that suggests a product of the future that’s available in the present.
Following the same aesthetic themes, we designed a brand book with a modern and minimalist visual language as a guide for editorials, packaging & display, digital as well as 3D product animations and motion graphics.
Stepping into the future of technology required a matching artistic vision. Our art direction team knew that Batband needed an image that reflected the unique character of the product. With clean lines, ultramodern graphics and a minimalist colour-palette, Batband content provides a futuristic vision to appeal to early-adopters of the tech of tomorrow. The photographic language communicates the sensation of the Batband sound experience while clearly explaining its technological attributes and the carefully considered aesthetics.
The Batband App
In parallel with the design, testing, and production of the device itself, we developed the UX/UI and content of www.batband.com (e-commerce website with interactive multimedia content) as well as a multiplatform app that allows users to enhance their sound experience with access to additional features such as personalisation of device settings, check battery level, equalise music, and even update Batband software and firmware.
The final sprint
Successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter
After our team reached a convincing prototyping stage and made sure all key engineering aspects were feasible, we started a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to get the wheels moving. This campaign also helped us reach an audience of early-adopters and learn from their suggestions and feedback.
It soon became clear that our idea struck a chord with the Kickstarter community. Within 72 hours, we hit our financial goal. Continuing with the campaign, we soon reached close to $1 million in investment and nearly 5,000 backers.
In the months following the campaign, we built a community of initial users who provided our design team with rich insights and use cases.
From prototype to your doorstep
With our Batband prototype in hand, we scoured the market to find the best possible manufacturer, which was no mean feat considering the advanced technology involved and the global demand. We needed to find a manufacturing team that understood the value of the product and the challenges involved in bringing it to a worldwide audience.
Issues with international shipping were resolved with creative workarounds using the magic of time difference (a New Yorker can now order the product and have it sent from Hong Kong to arrive the next morning).
We are proud to say that Batband started rolling off the assembly lines of our production plant of Asia in July 2017, and is currently commercially available for consumers all over the world.
Turning challenging problems into tangible solutions
We like to think of Batband as solid proof of what a multidisciplinary team like Studio Banana is capable of. Bringing together product design, user experience, fundraising, marketing strategy and manufacturing management, we resolved challenge after challenge to bring our vision to life and fulfilled a global demand for the product.
Fundamentally, it’s just further evidence that the best results often come from adopting an alternative point of view.