Designing user-friendly technology
A Design Council case study

Page 1: Introduction

Design Council 2 Diagram 1“Roy, the first shipment has just arrived, I thought you might like to see one.” Gary Maughan passed Roy Doughty a handset across the desk. Roy felt the weight of the phone and then opened the flip and laid the phone on the desk - “Terrific isn’t it?” He sat back and thought how far they’d come in the last three years. This case study tells the story of the design and development of the One 2 One handset.

Mercury Personal Communications is a network service provider - giving the customer access to the two key components needed for the phone service - a handset and base station. MPC does not manufacture handsets itself, so this case study describes a model for new product development. A modern mobile phone network requires two key components to function - the handset and the base station. The handset transmits and receives calls and forms the interface with the user. This communicates by radio with a network of base stations which pass the call on to the fixed wire telephone network and to other users.

All change

Until the 1980s, the UK telecommunications industry was dominated by British Telecom (BT) the public utility company. However, in 1989 the government granted three licences to operate a Personal Communications Network (PCN), one of these was to Mercury Personal Communications (MPC) which today operates under the brand name One 2 One. Mercury Personal Communications launched One 2 One within four years of receiving its licence. MPC’s mission was:

“To be No 1 in the personal communications market, providing our customers with quality and innovative service.”

In other words, MPC was not only targeting the mobile phone market, but was also setting out to displace BT and to compete with satellite and cable services. The strategy was to provide a comprehensive personal communications service which appealed to a mass market and encouraged greater usage by being affordable and reliable whilst offering freedom, flexibility, convenience and control.

Design Council | Designing user-friendly technology

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