“Design begins before a structure becomes visible.”

Kevin Perlinger works with the invisible, and has been doing so for a long time. As a User Experience Designer, his work begins where ideas about a product operated by people come into being, at the interface of man and machine. Design creates processes even before a structure becomes visible. “Good design begins at a point where I'm not even thinking about what something looks like or how it functions.”

An aesthetically pleasing and tactile solution

After the abstract concept phase comes the visual design. The content is applied to the graphical user interface, where digital interaction takes place. In the Excellence Line, this is the large touchscreen display with its revolutionary CircleSlider. An aesthetically pleasing and tactile solution which is perfect for accommodating the wide variety of applications. The user can intuitively navigate, scroll, touch, swipe, and choose between an app or list view. The V‑ZUG design team also experimented with visuals for a long time and created an iconic design for a user experience that inspires positive emotions. “I have no idea how many kilograms of food we fetched and photographed to ensure we had only the best background images”, laughs Kevin Perlinger.

It's the small things that are the most fun

He studied Visual Communication at Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences and later completed his Master's in Interaction Design in Zurich. He enjoys the mix of design, psychology, research and programming, having previously taught himself how to program. “I'm always looking for something that inspires me, where I can feed my creative energy.” He cannot simply donothing. So sport, such as running and riding racing bicycles, are always part of his daily routine. He has also introduced self-made robotic devices into his home: the apartment he shares with his girlfriend in Seebach, Zurich features automatic door openers and a plant watering system. “It's the small things that are the most fun”, laughs the man with versatile interests.

Kevin Perlinger's personal passion also involves technology – temperature, quantity and humidity. And at the moment, something is tucked away in a cupboard with an evaporator and a heater – he enjoys fermenting. Years ago in Switzerland, he missed the flavour of really good, dark rustic sourdough bread. He started with sourdough, but his current favourite fermented products are tempeh and miso. It was a strand of fungus that developed an aroma similar to a basket of tropical fruit that piqued his interest. The fascinating thing about fermenting is that it creates something unique that cannot be ordered or bought. And this opens up a whole new culinary world to see, smell and enjoy.

Stirring passion for V-ZUG appliances

The 32-year-old has been part of the V‑ZUG design team for three years. His goal for the interface design of the Excellence Line is to stir passion and a good feeling in users whenever they see, touch or use a V‑ZUG appliance. But user experiences are always subjective. So how do you objectify subjective feelings? This is where Kevin Perlinger begins the design process – not with products, but abstract personas: together with an interdisciplinary team, market research data and studies were used to create types of people who represent a large target group. Four personas were important for the Excellence Line: Frédéric, Irene, Barbara and Susanne. This fictional quartet acted as an anchor point, and the latest line of appliances was developed for them. “The more I internalise these personas, the more I step back as a designer and the more I adopt the attitude of the persona”, laughs the designer. 

Self-explanatory, logical, recognisable

Initially, Frédéric, Irene, Barbara and Susanne were posters hanging in the design office, as well as in some other departments. All disciplines focus on the personas. Data comes together from these areas all the time. Data that varies again and again with every development step and every level of progress. Then the designer has to think about how to provide this to the user. His claim: “The design alone should tell me how it works. A good product is self-explanatory, easy, logical, recognisable and doesn't require an instruction manual”. At this point, the native German thinks about the information architecture. How do I position and categorise applications? How do I navigate simply and intuitively? How can I offer Frédéric, Irene, Barbara and Susanne an inspiring user experience? The solutions for the content models must always be discussed with all internal interfaces. “In my function at V-ZUG, I operate in the field between design, software and robotics. It's a lot of fun.”