Dean Heckler came from a software design background before launching Heckler Design to bring functional and elegant products to workplaces around the world.
ShopKeep is a big supporter of his product designs, notably The Windfall, an iPad stand that has been a top seller with our merchants. We are grateful for the opportunity to ask Dean Heckler a few questions to understand what drives his process, how he sees the retail landscape evolving and of course, why he loves being a merchant.
Read on for the first part of the interview.
What do you consider your first design?
My first design was a heavy-duty workbench I created in junior high school. I designed it with an easily-to-replace top surface – enabling it to look like-new every couple of years. To this day, the bench gets used almost daily and looks great.
What design most changed your life?
In my childhood, my dad brought home a string of early computers including an Apple IIc. I loved finding new ways to put it to use. I was the only second-grader submitting his homework printed on a dot matrix printer. Finding ways to use technology intelligently and beautifully has been an obsession ever since.
What is your favorite design of yours and why?
OneLessDesk is my favorite design, because I love using it and looking at it. Most of all, it’s my favorite because it’s the design that enabled me to design products for a living.
How is design changing the retail landscape?
Consumers now know and demand good design across the board. They expect it when shopping online, and they now see the conventional retail experience as lacking. The massive stack of random point-of-sale hardware they see in front of them when standing at the checkout counter exemplifies this. Folks opening new retail shops know there’s an opportunity to win customer loyalty by offering a better checkout experience. ShopKeep’s design delivers the great software-based checkout experience for both the shop owner and the shopper. I want to transform the hardware experience.
What made you shift from being a UX/UI software designer to launching your own company that makes physical products?
My shift from software design to product design occurred after a couple realizations. The first occurred when I was able to pack nine years of software work into one CD case. The thought of my hard work being condensed to a dusty stack of disks annoyed me. During that time, I began to work from home and needed a new desk for my den. OneLessDesk resulted, and people’s reaction to it was addicting.