We never intended to make a new interface for our lenses. When we started designing Moment products three years ago, we spent months on the interface. We knew that any future changes would impact our existing customers. But when iPhone 7 and 7+ were announced, it changed everything.
The introduction of a larger aperture on iPhone 7/7+ forced us to redesign our Wide Lens, and in order to deliver the best image quality possible, we had to increase the diameter of the first element. Increasing this opening broke the design on our current lens interface, leading us to realize we had an opportunity to make our lens interface significantly better.
Start With Customers
With every Moment project, we start with the customer. Thankfully, we have thousands of customers who aren’t afraid to tell us what they think of the current lens interface. What made this research challenging is that all the feedback split into two clear groups.
One group loved the current lens interface because of the thin metal plate. They bought Moment because it could work with or without a case. To them, this was the most important feature, and they prioritized this in their mind over any long term flaws in its design.
The second group didn’t like the interface because they didn’t like adhering a plate to their phone. In addition, they didn’t like the feel of metal on metal, as it didn’t provide the necessary feedback to know when the lens was in place. It resulted in lots of user experiences involving crooked lenses.
Having to solve both of these problems made the journey to a solution much more challenging. We had to ask ourselves what was more important…a great user experience or working with/without a case?
Easier To Use
Regardless of our final decision to the question above, we realized that the interface could be much easier to use. Even though we’re working with tiny parts, we wanted to make improvements to how the lens was guided into place, and provide feedback as to when it was fully attached.
Looking at when and how people attach a lens, we dissected some problems with our original interface. One of the biggest issues was the size. We had to make it so small to work under other cases that it ended up being harder than we would have liked to attach. It was hard to align, push in, and rotate into place without doing it a few times first and learning the process. With more room to work with on the new interface, we were able to increase the size of the bayonet tabs and mating surfaces in order to create a stronger connection.
Once we had the diameter and sizing sorted out, we spent weeks prototyping different mechanisms to lock the lens into place. Looking at all sorts of other mechanisms for inspiration, we ended up settling on a design revolving around a spring clip that’s hidden inside the walls of the case. From there, we tested all sorts of shapes, materials, and spring profiles until we got the feel we were looking for. When the lens is rotated into place, the clip locks the bayonet into place, but still allows you to remove it when you want with the right amount of force. We will continue to make small tweaks to this design as we proceed through manufacturing.
Overall this new solution makes it easier to attach a Moment Lens, even in the dark.
Make It Stronger
Through lots of customer interaction, we continued to hear a repeated request….make the interface more reliable. Customers were using their lenses in a variety of ways, and we needed a solution that would better hold up to long term wear and tear. Our internal struggle in solving this problem took us back to the question… “Do our lenses have to work with or without a case?”
After a lot of angst and some size mock ups, we began to realize that we had to make the interface bigger. In doing so, it was going to force us to answer the question… “Does a great user experience outweigh the requirement to work with or without a case?” By shaping the interface around a case instead of a plate, we have much more space and material to work with. This allows us to deliver a significantly better, stronger interface. One that can stand up to a wider range of use and abuse, and be more reliable over time.