Released in 2004, these were the industry’s first women's swimming goggles. The concept of goggles that leave ‘minimal marks after use’ has a large following of female swimmers, and became a huge hit product.
In the eight years since the original release, other manufacturers developed competing products, and so VIEW came to release it’s second model in this series, VIEW KAREN.
The development team felt there was something seriously lacking; goggles for women.
"In 2004 VIEW launched the industry's first women's goggle .VIEWFRAU. This product that catered to the needs of female swimmers was a huge success. But in the eight years since the original release, competitors have also been producing goggles for women. I felt that as the brand that established the category for women’s goggles, we had to do something.”
So the development staff proposed the launch and development of a second goggles for women team project.
"Women's understand and know most about women, and I thought that with the team we could come up with new ideas, rather than thinking about it on my own.”
After forming a women's only project team, members attended a number of fitness clubs and asked the female swimmers about their use of goggles everyday. In addition, they purchased all goggles currently being sold, and conducted thorough research establishing comparisons between the various items looking at factors such as functionality, design, appearance and comfort.
Through this various opinions were gathered from the project members, and the basic concept of new product development was launched. It was to be "goggles for ladies which are both compact and enhance the eyes".
VIEWFRAU was released 8 years ago as a pioneer for goggles for women.
The basic concept of VIEWFRAU was to minimise marks left after wearing goggles. To achieve this, the result was somewhat larger goggles and fitting compared to regular goggles.
This basic concept was highly appreciated, reflected by the market leading to it becoming a huge hit product.
However, by continuing so survey the market, they found that while there was a lot of praise for the laid-back size, there were also a lot of people looking for a more compact option. "Women enjoying choosing products and items, so we thought that having the choice of more compact goggles would be a good idea.”
On of the first major obstacles the project members came across was the increased pressure around the eyes with more compact goggles, and the resulting change of how the eyes looked when wearing them.
Ishikawa, one of the project members, said, ""I tried to get many of the female employees including myself to wear the prototype, but found that the more compact the goggles, the more pressure that was applied around the eyes. And the result was not beautiful.Women want to be beautiful even when swimming, so I thought incessantly about howI would solve that issue.”
It was no easy feat to overcome the issue of having a "compact size and beautiful eyes”. It took days of repeated trial and error, but eventually I found out a solution. And that was to make the face pad sit on a higher point of the nose than conventional models.
"In previous models, the goggles were designed to fit over the lowest point of the nose. But VIEWKAREN broke from this, and placed the nose belt on a higher point, using the face pads on both sides of the nose belt to extend slightly inward (toward the eyes)” Shibata explained.
This made it possible to get a good fit and also reduce pressure on the upper and lower eyelids. The result was success in developing goggles which enhance the appearance of the eye while also being compact.
“VIEWKAREN not only offers functional aspects, but also offer other aspects to cater for women’s particular needs. The colour concept for VIEWKAREN represents a flower’s life cycle, and mirror how women become beautiful as they swim. The colour variations line up is made up of seven earthy colours. I hope that people enjoy choosing from them.”
The development staff was invested in the package also, and proposed a different package for each of the seven colours, something that broke with standard packaging practice. “The product is designed with a petal as a motif, for example, the lens shape, sculpting on the nose belt, and adjustment pin that adjusts the length of the strap etc. Although it's only an adjustment pin, the product comes with a variety of spare pins, so you change it to suit your mood of the day."
The name VIEWKAREN is said to have come from the idea of ‘being as dainty as a beautiful flower’. With her female perspective and sensibility, The development staff's commitment to emphasise femininity throughout all aspects of these goggles was accepted smoothly throughout the company. And thus VIEWKAREN was finally released.
VIEWKAREN has a dedicated women only project team. Approximately half a year after the launch, VIEWKAREN is seeing strong sales. In addition, VIEWFRAU sales are also increasing as a knock-on effect. The goal to increase enjoyment and range of choice that the project members came up with was great.
"I am thankful to all the female employees who cooperated with us on this development. This not only helped my product, but is a huge step in goggles for women. While I have been conscious of women in development so far, it was my first time to develop a product like this.”
"As a brand that established the category of goggles for women, I have full confidence and highly recommend our newest model, VIEW KAREN. It looks great to wear, and the various colours and adjustment pin on VIEWKAREN make it a fun item for female swimmers.”
The project members goal and consideration is definitely striking chords in the hearts of all the female swimmers out there.