What does Better Product Design Actually Mean in 2023?
The manufacturing of consumer goods has a huge carbon footprint globally. In the race to meet net zero targets, manufacturers must do what they can to minimise unnecessary emissions and unnecessary waste. It's 2023 and we as consumers are realising that there are two main criteria when it comes to things that we can control, when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint. One is adopting the behaviour of less consumption, and the other is making more informed choices.
As a responsible manufacturer, there are many choices that we make here at Swifty, in the design and supply chain that goes into the creation of the product. Here is a summary of what those criteria are.
1. The Right to Repair
All products should be repairable as this obviously extends the life of the product, and therefore reduces consumption. There is nothing more annoying that a product that has a small component that perishes, and there is no way to fix it, rendering the entire product useless. We believe that consumers should have the right to repair, and in the scooter industry, it’s not alway that common. Many e-scooter manufacturers in particular are culprits of irresponsible manufacturing and in many instances there are simply no spare parts or technicians available to help with after-market care.
At Swifty, we use standardised bicycle grade components and this is a design choice. The advantages of this is felt throughout the lifetime of the products, not only on how those components perform, but the advantage is felt when the scooter needs to be repaired. Apart from the unique frame / chassis, the components are standard sizes that have been used in the industry for decades, and will be for decades more in the future - there is certainly a beauty to the bike industry, it operates in its own circular economy, and although not technically a bike, our scooters operate within that. A Swifty can be serviced by any bicycle technician at your local bike store.
2. Built to Last
Creating a product with a long life span is also important. The quality of the materials, the resilience of the materials, the testing of the build quality, the uniformity of each product that leaves the factory floor, these are all really important design choices.
Making sure the product is engineered to have enough strength to last frequent use is key in designing products responsibly.
3. Designed for Daily Use
There’s nothing more sad that spending money on something that you feel ambivalent about, so it sits in the cupboard, unused. This is an issue for the luxury goods industry, and it's a big problem. These items embody countless amounts of carbon in the manufacturing processes. For example, the fashion industry which is responsible for 10% of all global emissions and is a machine designed for over consumption. Some items are more environmentally damaging than others, for example dresses, often only worn a once or twice, to then sit in wardrobes or worse, thrown into land fill are statistically the worse offenders. Having said that, it's exciting to see new technologies like Vinted being used to enable the circular fashion economy.
As a responsible manufacturer, it's important to be creating goods that are going to be used, and are designed to be used daily. Come on, drag your Swifty out of the shed, dust it down and get scooting!
4. The fun factor
Let’s not underestimate the importance of the fun factor! For any marketing professional, the word ‘fun’ perhaps has implications for a brand that is not to be taken seriously, but do not underestimate this simple three-letter word! If a product has the fun-factor, it’s going to be used. It’s going to bring joy and happiness, and to make you feel good when you use it. Ultimately if you’re going to use a product daily, let’s make sure it’s fun to use!
At Swifty, the fun-factor is something you feel when you experience the beautiful flow of a well engineered scooter. The combination of strength and lightness of weight, the comfortable geometry and stable handling makes any Swifty an absolute pleasure to ride.
5. Promoting Healthier Lifestyles
Many aspects of 21st century lifestyles are simply not healthy, the way we work, eat, relax, travel etc have created a pretty unhealthy population overall, many of us in later life will be living with chronic illnesses. As a consumer goods manufacturer, we at Swifty have no interest in creating consumer goods that feed into unhealthy lifestyles.
In fact we’re motivated by the opposite. We want to enable more people to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce their car miles, contribute to cleaner air, get fitter, get happier. But once the scooter leaves our door, it's up to you to make the difference!
And last but not least, at the end of a products life cycle, it can be easily disassembled and recycled at your local recycling centre!
Design and the Value of Good Value
The result of making good design choices is that our products hold their value on the second hand market, or using a more up-to-date term, the ‘pre-loved’ market.
We have created a facebook group called Swifty Scooters Custom and Pre-Loved! This group is a Swifty fan group for people to share pictures of their customised Swiftys, and to also find buyers for ‘pre-loved’ Swiftys. Click on the link to join the community!
There are many choices that we make in order to create better products, we believe these are the criteria that make up better product design. However, once the scooter leaves our door, the consumer has a responsibility too, the responsibility to ride!
Please look after your Swiftys! Get out there, get scooting and have fun!