Wireless Phone for Telespree

A voice-driven mobile phone

IDEO worked closely with Telespree to define the user experience of a new wireless communication technology, designing an inexpensive, one-button, voice-driven cell phone that accepts a prepaid airtime/power-supply cartridge called the AirClip. This allows the phone to be sold in mass-market locations such as convenience stores, grocery stores, and gas stations. Additionally, there are no contracts or other barriers to mobile phone use, which will open up the benefits of wireless service to a greater portion of the population. The replaceable AirClips come in different airtime quantities and provides a branding surface for promotional opportunities.

In addition to providing mechanical and manufacturing engineering for the cartridge and handset, IDEO’s interaction designers and human factors specialists helped to define the behavioral aspects of the phone. A single button and LED provide the physical interaction, with voice-recognition used for everything from setup to dialing to help.

Rapid prototyping followed by user observations across a wide demographic range allowed the design team to evolve the phone’s form factor so that new users immediately understood how to hold and how to use the phone. The challenge for the designers was to look at the normal interaction of a mobile phone and to create a voice-only interaction architecture, that although new to the world is immediately intuitive to users, providing clear instructions that enables users to place calls quickly and easily.

Industrial design by One & Co.

Project date: 2000