Interview with designer Hakan Orel (HO), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Snowball Computer Mouse.

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Interview with Hakan Orel at Sunday 14th of April 2013: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
HO : The idea behind Snowball is to reverse the process of conventional mouse usage. Snowball combines a mouse and a mouse pad within itself hence it actually doesn’t need a surface to work. As you tumble the device you actually move the mouse pad not the mouse. The system inside the case acts like a mouse, held stationary by design as the outer layer moves relative to it.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
HO : Snowball is created to enhance the user experience by both customizable appearances and freed usage with an ergonomic design. The changeable case and commanding units, give people the freedom to customize their device according to choice. Moreover the device has no regulations regarding left/right hand usage, everyone can enjoy the device.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
HO : I possess the patent rights for the design also I acquired the rights on the mark Snowball and registered the design. If this design is desired by people and if companies want to realize the design, it will be ideal.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
HO : The idea behind the design is in my mind for some time and it formed itself, becoming a product concept in the background, before I put pen on the paper. As you know, after the creation of an idea, it is just a matter of time to design the concept in a medium.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
HO : Ideas, according to me, self creates themselves and uses inspired people as a host to be revealed and to be realized. So maybe it might be commissioned to me but not by any physical parties. This concept is one of many ideas that I am working on at the background of my mind. So I can say that actually I did not design this concept in a conventional sense, it’s merely just a vision that become real.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
HO : The design for the time being is unique hence it is not being produced by a company, if demanded leasing or selling options can be discussed.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
HO : I am working on another project before the idea of Snowball comes to light. I reached an impasse in that project, when trying to solve the problems encountered, I had a vision that created Snowball from scratch, shifting the project from the beginning.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
HO : I admire Mother Nature the most, not to disrespect my fellow designers, seeing it as the ultimate design. I tend to work where I have earth beneath my feet in a hideout at countryside. Throughout the years I become inseparable from what is natural and untouched and these ideals mostly form the workings of my mind and self. Hence it led me to believe that designing is not always creating, to design a concept one must form the idea behind first. Consider Big Bang, the universe started to form starting from the first microsecond yet it is designed during time becoming as we know of today. I believe that there is a fine line between forming and shaping an idea.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
HO : Target customer for Snowball is people who want to have both a different product experience and product usage. Usage of the device is different from other products; you have to roll the device to move the cursor. Also customizable case and commanding unit color options bring the ability to create your own device, by altering the appearances; it makes every device different from each other.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
HO : Snowball is a computer mouse which people can actually relate to a mouse by its appearance. With its customizable case color options and command button unit shaped like the ears of a mouse, everyone can create their own device with different appearances, like having a real mouse as a pet.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
HO : The name for the design comes from the most popular names that people give to their pets. I thought that it might be a further connection for people to relate the device to an actual mouse.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
HO : I form the ideas in a room at the back of my head, and when it is completed, I reveal and realize the concept using hand sketching for communication purposes.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
HO : Design brings user experience to a different level in which you can customize the appearance of the device by different case and commanding unit color options. Moreover the design enables right/left handed usage without restrictions. Also the separable buttons give the freedom of using the buttons with desired fingers. You can command the device with wide range of combinations. Snowball combines these customizable options for to be chosen by the user, every aspect of the device is designed to increase the user experience.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
HO : Luckily throughout the years I have been able to meet and befriend with people who were very dear to me, and forming a pact of my own, I was nourished from their experiences. I have trusted advisors who are experts in their areas such as mechanics/production, electronics and administration. I always cherish their thoughts on the ideas that I am working on.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
HO : The design uses available technology, which uses two optic/laser sensors located in perpendicular planes. The primary sensor tracks the surface as a conventional mouse does, the secondary sensor enables further functions to be used, giving device 3D plane movement options. The separable buttons are attached to the case via magnets and transmits button functions wirelessly to the system. These functions both increase the functions held by the device and user experience.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
HO : I attended a conference regarding innovation, in which I was able to listen to inspiring people, talk about their experiences and other topics. One of the speakers was fellow citizen Dr. Hakan Gürsu. After his talk, I feel proud to have such a gem dominate an international competition, and decided to be on the game as well.