One Innovation Followed by Another
The Business Problem
Back in 2006, SeQual Technologies improved the mobility of people dependent upon oxygen devices by introducing the Eclipse, a 19-pound portable oxygen concentrator about the size of a student backpack. The Eclipse became the first portable concentrator to win Federal Aviation Administration approval for use on planes. Among the slew of design and engineering awards it earned was a Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award for medical devices.
MindFlow Design worked with SeQual for years to help bring that product to the marketplace.
As SeQual expanded the universe of people with oxygen needs who felt comfortable traveling, others in the industry took notice. Today, SeQual faces strong competition from a half dozen or so portable oxygen concentrator challengers who seek to improve market share at its expense.
The Client’s Challenge
When a product earns accolades for breaking new ground, how do you introduce a next-generation version that again stands out from the rest? And how do you leverage your proven strengths in engineering to produce an extremely user-friendly product that extends the value of the brand?
These are the challenges SeQual faced in seeking to set the bar of product acceptance in the portable oxygen concentrator market even higher.
Not long after introduction of the Eclipse, SeQual tasked MindFlow Design with developing its successor product. The latest offering, known as the Equinox, came to market in March 2014.
Earning rave reviews, the Equinox stands ready to replicate the success of its predecessor. It is even smaller, lighter and quieter than the Eclipse while maintaining an industry-leading continuous oxygen flow rate of three liters per minute.
In both situations, MindFlow Design used the same methodology. Designers shadowed individuals dependent upon oxygen to learn about the challenges of using concentrators in daily life. In the course of this research, personal relationships were established that empowered designers to advocate strenuously for user interests from beginning to end of the design process.
SeQual, now a unit of Chart Industries, is respected in the industry for the innovations introduced by its internal engineering team. Taking advantage of its strengths, SeQual presented MindFlow Design with internal working components that could be configured in different ways.
With insights gained from learning how people interacted with oxygen concentrators, MindFlow Design created mock-ups of the most promising configurations. To ascertain which mock-up produced the best user experience, users were observed as they performed a series of tasks. The most effective mock-up then became the subject of a more detailed design effort.
Beyond designing the Equinox itself, MindFlow Design was also responsible for the user interface panel and the portable battery charger, which is also smaller and lighter than its predecessor.
Having established a visual brand language with the initial assignment, MindFlow Design was careful to ensure that the look and feel of Equinox easily identified it as a member of the SeQual family of products. A long client relationship and mutual feelings of trust facilitated this achievement.