Read on for the THETA division marketing team’s story about how the TS-3 came to be!
Our goal is to liven up the world of THETA by fostering a community THETA users. Since 2018, we have been getting various feedback and requests through our THETA Division Facebook community page as well as offline events. Thanks to the user feedback, we have developed a special case! We’d like to share the design process leading up to the release.
Our first thought was that we wanted more women to use THETA. Since the launch of THETA in the fall of 2013, our users have been overwhelmingly male, but over the past few years, it seems to be the case on social media that more and more females are using THETA. Despite having few opportunities to interact with female users, we began to think about what we can do to make them have fun with THETA. That was when we decided to hold exchange events for them.
It all started at the accessory planning event held in August 2018. At the event we listened to users’ feedback and ideas, from initial design all the way to product launch! We’ll explain the product’s special features at the end of this article, so please read to the end.
1.Idea streaming – THETA MEETING, accessory planning event #1
In August 2018, we invited 20 female THETA users and held a brainstorming session about what kind of accessories they would like to use with THETA.
We received all kinds of ideas, such as a transparent tripod, a cute mascot for hiding your thumb, a lens cover, and a glitter filter attached to the lens. But the most popular idea was an exclusive case for THETA.
Example ideas proposed by users at the event
Some users already had their own original solutions, such as a pencil case or a pochette, because they couldn’t find cute and suitable alternatives. But they also said they were not satisfied with the functionality. We found out that what users wanted most was three things: 1) the ability to hang THETA on the neck or shoulder for easy access, 2) the ability to carry THETA with a monopod attached, and 3) to ensure that THETA’s cute form factor was visible.
2.Discussion ー Specifications and design by Ricoh
We decided to make a THETA case since that was the most popular idea at the event. In order to identify the requirements for design and functionality, and to implement them all into a final product, we deliberated the form factor, materials, and color with the planning and design members.
・ Should not interfere with the design or image of the clothes people are wearing.
・ Should make good use of THETA’s shape (the case should be rounded and fit snugly)
・ Should have colors that go well with THETA SC / SC2
・ Should be possible to store THETA in the case even with a monopod attached
・ Should be able to be worn on the shoulder or neck
・ Should prevent THETA from falling out even the user is moving vigorously
・ Should allow quick access to THETA for quick photo opportunities
Leather Case Plans
Hard Case Plans
We also consulted the manufacturer of a case we particularly liked, discussed the design and specifications, and made a prototype cloth case. However, it was technically difficult to satisfy the design specifications and the production cost was high, so ultimately we gave up on some ideas.
Although we had many ideas, by examining whether they met the functionality and design constraints, we were able to narrow down the field to two final candidates, A and B as shown below.
Final Candidate Designs
3.Final specification decision – THETA MEETING, accessory planning event #2
In the autumn of 2019, we held another event inviting mostly the same participants as in the August 2018 session. They brushed up the ideas from prototype A and B, which each came in two colors: white and beige.
Half of the 14 participants preferred prototype A saying they prefer the “solid material, especially from the viewpoint of lens protection and impact resistance, etc.” They also stated “it looks sturdy and luxurious,” and “the fastening button makes us feel more secure.” Regarding prototype B some people felt it was “soft and THETA was easy to remove,” while others felt that “the strap looks fragile,” and that “it’s difficult to remove THETA from the case.” Regarding the color, beige was preferred since stains won’t stand out as much. So, in the end we decided to go with prototype A in beige.
Final Design – Prototype A
Three Benefits of the TS-3 Soft Case
Benefit 1: THETA can be stored in the case with a monopod attached, so it’s excellent for quick shooting!
Have you ever missed a good shot while looking for your THETA or your monopod in your bag? Fret no more! The TS-3 has two fastening buttons, one for storing the THETA by itself, and one for storing it with a monopod attached, so you can store it safely in either configuration. The strap also has a band for attaching a monopod, allowing you to carry it around your shoulder without it swinging wildly.
Benefit 2: A color that suits any fashion.
Beige allows you to wear the case as a shoulder bag with any outfit. The strap is removable, so the case can be easily kept in a handbag or a backpack.
Benefit 3: The case is made from a firm, synthetic leather and can be closed by fastening a button, so it is safe to carry on your shoulder.
Though it’s a soft case, it is designed to accommodate THETA perfectly and protects its surface with a thick cloth lining. The exact fit is carefully calculated to ensure the case offers additional protection to the lens. It’s safe to carry even while traveling.
We endeavored to make a product that reflects user feedback!
We hope this storage case lets you make the most of ‘Life with THETA’!
Please visit here for more details.
(Edited by Hitomi)