How we created the new Sway and Alive desks
The Sway Standing Desk is the first product we launched at ergonofis, and it has since become one of our bestsellers. Along with the Alive Standing Desk, these standing desks are beloved by our customers (and our team) for their beautiful solid wood surface, built-in interface, and sturdy adjustable frame.
So, why change it?
The answer is simple: we want to create the best possible products for our customers. When we see an opportunity for improvement, we go for it.
In the case of the Sway and Alive desks, we realized we could make the experience of using a height-adjustable desk even more seamless, intuitive, and personalized.
Why we upgraded the Sway and Alive Standing desks
To make sure our customers get the most out of their ergonomic workspace, we regularly reassess our products in an effort to identify potential areas for improvement. We start by asking ourselves, “How is our customer using this product, and what’s causing friction for them?” Even if there are no obvious issues, we push ourselves to imagine what the perfect experience would look like.
With the original Sway and Alive desks, the user adjusts the height by pressing a button on the handset built into the desk’s surface. Although this action takes no more than a few seconds, it requires the user to stop what they’re doing and look down to locate the right button, interrupting the flow of their work. We wondered if there might be a way to make the height adjustment more seamless.
That’s when we came up with the idea of adjusting the height with a simple hand gesture. What if instead of stopping your work to look for the up or down button, you could swipe up or down with your hand, raising or lowering the desk with one intuitive movement?
We also reflected on the ways people are using their workspace in the context of the pandemic and all the changes it has brought over the past couple of years. Considering that more people are working from home than ever before, and perhaps sharing a home office with a partner or family members, we saw that we could fulfill a need by offering a desk that could be customized to suit more than one user.
To achieve all of this, we would have to completely redesign the handset. But we didn’t stop there; we also began looking at how we might optimize the desk’s frame.
How we redesigned the Sway and Alive Standing desks
Once we decided to revamp the Sway and Alive desks, we began developing the product vision. Led by Justine Bergeron, our design team consulted everyone at ergonofis to get as much input as possible throughout the process. After establishing the desk’s key features, we carried out formal research to determine how we might achieve our vision.
One of the biggest challenges was designing an integrated touchscreen that would allow the desk height to be adjusted with a swipe up or down. By creating this new handset, we were entering uncharted territory: this would be the industry’s first-ever standing desk with touch technology. Our team worked tirelessly to make sure this innovative feature would work as intended and deliver an optimal user experience.
Since we wanted our customers to be able to swipe up or down without necessarily looking at the touchscreen, we had to make sure the technology would recognize imperfect swipes. That means the user doesn’t have to swipe in a perfectly straight line to activate the height adjustment; diagonal swipes and shorter or longer swipes all work equally well.
What’s more, we wanted the touchscreen to be as user-friendly and customizable as possible while preserving the minimalist aesthetic ergonofis is known for. That’s why we chose familiar graphics such as arrows and the hamburger menu. The interface is uncluttered, but tapping on the menu icon reveals a comprehensive list of customization options.
To achieve the look and functionality we wanted, we tested multiple prototypes. This presented another set of hurdles we would need to overcome: like many businesses around the world, we had to contend with supply chain issues and work quickly to find alternative solutions when the materials we needed were delayed or unavailable.
The new Sway and Alive desks
After months of hard work, we were finally ready to unveil the redesigned Sway and Alive desks. It includes the same high-end solid wood surface as the previous iteration, along with a brand-new touchscreen and upgraded frame.
The integrated touchscreen completely transforms the experience of using a standing desk through several innovative features:
- Seamless height adjustment with a swipe up or down
- Reminders to stand up and sit down
- Customizable settings for up to four users (saved heights, reminders to stand and sit, language preference, and more)
The new frame further elevates the user experience. Improvements to the frame include:
- Quieter motor (the quietest on the market)
- Greater motion sensitivity for collision prevention
- Easier and faster installation
Redesigning the Sway and Alive desks was no easy task, but we’re incredibly proud of the result: a height-adjustable desk that offers an intuitive, customizable experience like nothing else on the market.