Alexis Macleod is a founding member of the new Digital Product Organization (DPO), launched at Electrolux to bring hardware and software together to meet the needs of global consumers. In her role as Design Director, Software Products, she tells us more about what the DPO is up to.
What is the Digital Product Organization?
We’re a growing team that’s charged with building a mobile app for all of our connected appliances. That emphasizes the digital product part of it, but what we’re really building here is an amazing ownership experience. That’s what brings it all together – design, technology, communication – to deliver a great experience to people who own our appliances. We want to enable people to enjoy the benefits of all our appliances, for comfortable, sustainable living.
You’re working on innovations, so do you have innovative ways of working, too?
We’re definitely updating our ways of working. For example, we’re working with design tokens, which is essentially where tech and design come together. So, as opposed to building one experience for Electrolux, one for AEG, and one for Frigidaire we’re building an experience and then we use these tokens as a way of putting the brand expression onto that. It’s all done through the code. It means when you use the app to remote control your washing machine, the Start button for the wash cycle is coded to work with all our machines, but it gets an Electrolux, AEG or Frigidaire brand color, font and spacing just by changing the tokens. Nobody has to create three separate code bases or designs. This way of working enables us to scale more effectively. It really fast-forwards what we can design and also what we can build.
You and your colleagues are building the DPO quickly. How does Electrolux attract UX designers?
Yes, the DPO has many roles to fill in locations around the world – in design but also across digital engineering, mobile and IoT solutions for example. Certainly from a design perspective, there’s this real appeal in a company that has a lot of heritage and a genuine commitment to sustainability. A lot of people are asking themselves: “why am I doing what I’m doing? What difference am I making?” People in our field have a lot of opportunities to choose from right now. Without the heritage and the sustainability piece, we’re just another big organization. But since we have that, and we are transforming our company to offer a better experience to consumers, not just more-more-more, we have genuine appeal. We are looking to make this digital transformation, to go on this journey. It’s a really interesting problem to crack.
What will the digital transformation help us to do, exactly?
It will help us connect with consumers on a deeper, long-term level. If we can get people to get the best use out of their appliance, they’ll get more pleasure out of it. And hopefully their clothes will last longer, their food will taste better, their air and floors will be cleaner and their home will be more comfortable.