At Wacom, I am currently working on expanding the user experience of the Bamboo pen tablet. With innovative user interfacing and software development I am trying to open up a whole new world of working with your computer (and go beyond offering a hardware ‘accessory’). Today it struck me that the new direction for Bamboo is very much similar to what Nintendo did with their Wii… Here is why:
The Wii opens up a whole new audiencie to gaming. Now you do not have to be a fanatic gamer to have fun with friends and family. The way games are played relate to the physical world (you play tennis by moving your arms instead of pressing buttons). Also, you are not bothered by technology, it is just simple and works. And is it very social. As a product, the Wii is basically an interface device (the controller is the key part). From branding point of view, Nintendo does not develop their own games (with exception of the first games), but they gain all the credit for the positive user experience (and not the gaimg companies).
With Bamboo, you do not have to be a graphic artist to express yourself in a playful and fun way. Drawing and writing with a pen is more intuitive than moving a mouse. The missing piece of the puzzle (and that is what I am currently working on) is to transform software similar to what Wii has done with games. I feel that most software has become overly complex (you need a serious training before you can use Adobe Photoshop). By trying to bridge the virtual and physical world, I want to make the interaction much more simple. For instance, one of the applications that will come out is an online place that mimics your physical desktop and lets your organize your stuff just like moving papers around. Wacom does not have to become a software company but I think that the company should show the (software) industry that new innovative user interfaces could make your life much easier and interaction with a computer more fun (very similar to what Nintendo has shown to game developers).
Obviously Wacom is not alone to recognize this paradigm shift (Apple is the poster child in simple and fun computer interaction). However, as a relative outsider it is much more easy to create something new and bold (compare what Apple did with iPhone vs Mac). The company should probably be more vocal about our ambition and claim its fair share (anybody knows that multi-pen interaction was developed by Wacom when Jeff Han was still at college?). It will be interesting to see how this continues!
Comments, thoughts, I would be interested in your feedback…!