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BEYOND THE ORDINARY

by Teresa Chow on Nov 20, 2014 in Products
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For more than a century, the No. 1 trusted brand in the USA — Hoover — has brought the best of its traditions and technology to the Hong Kong market

As a leader in the floor-care industry, Hoover rethinks cleaning, manufacturing high-quality vacuum cleaners for all needs — regardless of whether you have a small home and require something that’s easy to store, or have a large family and need a versatile, everyday cleaner.
Since 2013, Hoover has been expanding across Asia, and with its latest product launch in Hong Kong, Jake Tyler, responsible for Hoover’s product development, speaks to Perspective about the brand’s expansion plans.
 
What drew you to this field of design?


I have been designing vacuum and steam cleaners for about five years… I started as a student, doing a year-long internship with Hoover back in 2009. It snowballed and I just felt in love with designing Hoovers.
 
What fascinates you about it?


The technology — from the outside, the Hoovers look very simple and effortless, but there are so many details inside them. If you take the multi-cyclonic Hoover, for example, the amount of prototyping needed just to meet expectations is enormous.
 
When you design a new product, how do you ensure its lifespan is extended?


It’s the kind of technology that Hoover stands behind: lithium life technology and multi-cyclonic technology. These are all about extending the product’s life. We also send new products out for user-testing and let the general public trial the product. We will fix any problems found during the trial period before they officially launch in the market — it’s tested in a home instead of laboratory.
 
At what point is there a need to update a product like Hoover, which has dominated the market for such a long time?


We try to keep our brand identity global. In doing so, products in the US, Europe and Asia are recognisable, but we understand that Asia’s needs differ in some aspects, so we will be more hard-floor focused to fit the market here. Since most homes in Asia tend to be apartments in Asia, the unit also has to be much quieter, smaller and efficient. This is where my job comes in: redesigning existing products.
 
What is most challenging thing about designing a vacuum cleaner?


The technology, making sure it is new and different every time. We file so many patents every year. If we stop developing the technology, then the product will be just the same every year. So we are constantly trying to reinvent ourselves.
 
How do you set about designing a better user experience?


Knowing who is going to use the product and how it is going to be used are important for a perfect design brief. That is part of the technology too. We try to do it in a way that is customer-friendly, because there is no point in making something that works great but no one can lift it because it is too heavy, for example.

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