Managing Change (Was: Iterative Change Manageme nt / Patriarchs of the Design Family)

24 Nov 2003 - 11:45am
12 years ago
1 reply
965 reads
Peter Bagnall

I suppose this comes down to an ethical argument. As designers should
we be held responsible for the long term results of our designs,
including their social, environmental, and other effect. Or are we only
responsible for the bottom line.

I must say, my opinion on this is we need to embrace the wider
responsibilities or we'll end up with a world no-one wants to live in.
So as other professions have ethical commitments we should too. I know
a few related groups have started on this sort of thing. I think the
ACM have a statement of ethics, but I suspect ours would be a little
different, possibly broader.

I know this rapidly gets political, but I think it is a question that
is worthy of discussion.

Kevin, I suppose what I'm saying is that while you may be talking about
the world as it is, surely as designers we should be thinking about the
world as we want it to be. After all, isn't that the mother of all
design problems ;-)


On 24 Nov 2003, at 15:34, Narey, Kevin wrote:

> I apologise for provoking any infuriation. It is merely what I
> perceive to
> be reality.
> However, surely global market forces are creating the environment
> within
> which we can design and create. The global adoption of the design of
> the
> automobile is a good example of this?
> KN
> -----Original Message-----
> From: CD Evans [mailto:clifton at]
> Sent: 24 November 2003 14:30
> To: Narey, Kevin; 'molly w. steenson'; discuss at
> Subject: Managing Change (Was: Iterative Change Management / Patriarchs
> of the Design Family)
> Managing Change seems an appropriate title for this discussion.
> Does you like commuting? Quite a few people feel the same about typing.
> This defence of cars almost infuriates me, but I'll try to be
> diplomatic. I can understand the value of an automobile. I can't
> understand the cost. Especially in relation to the average global
> income. The cost of a bicycle is much more reflective of what it
> means to be human. Most people don't have cars or computers.
> This added to the practical humility of a car not being designed
> appropriately for city life makes me think a lot about urban
> planning, but I should be thinking about the car design.
> Unfortunately, the car is a stop gap design. It wasn't designed to
> fit into an older city or to be distributed on a grand scale. A few
> of them here and there, fine, but the populations have exploded and
> we haven't changed the design. The same thing has happened with
> computers, a few thousand programmers can work with them as is,
> fine, but day care centers and shopping malls could do with better
> system designs.
> Both the car and the computer weren't designed to be comfortable for
> more than 3 hours at a time. No amount of cushions is going to make
> what is essentially a yogic meditational position healthy for
> everyone. Funny but true. It took 40 years for television to have a
> suggested health effect. But instead of reducing the amount of screen
> time, we just put the giant light bulb closer to our eyes.
> Add all this to the greenhouse effect or another research topic
> looking at economic instability in your local university and it's
> time to think about the responsibility designers have to the world.
> Kindly
> CD Evans
> Ps: For Kannan, I don't always call myself a systems designer, my
> clients choose my title. Hopefully this list and web site can help us
> all with that problem.
> At 11:33 am +0000 24/11/03, Narey, Kevin wrote:
>> I agree Molly. It seems that CD Evans believes that the automobile
>> design
> (I
>> can only assume you refer to the interaction of it's form) needs to
>> change
>> because it is 'unsuccessful'. The form and interaction of an
>> automobile has
>> been globally accepted as a resounding 'success' if success can be
>> defined
>> as 'user acceptance' - a test often employed in the success (or indeed
>> failure) of software applications. Indeed the form of a vehicle is
>> now a
>> written standard in many countries worldwide - why is that
>> 'unsuccessful'?.
>> IMO User feedback in terms of behaviour/interaction in the automobile
>> industry is now much more of a focus than it has ever been and is
>> really
>> pushing the envelope in terms of a vehicle's form and function. There
>> a
> many
>> attempts to revisit the base form of many products; a healthy
>> practice for
>> design and for human benefit - change for the sake of change has
>> historically proven to be misguided and costly.
>> KN
>> Web UI Developer
>> VW Group
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: molly w. steenson [mailto:molly at]
>> Not true: major car manufacturers are indeed looking at interaction
>> design and automobiles. Some of the innovations you'll see in the
>> future will be service related (what happens in a future where a car
>> is a shared commodity, and not an owned resource) and will directly
>> affect the interactions the car has with the road (what if a car
>> couldn't have accidents?). These are not industrial design shifts, or
>> digital industrial design, but something much different.
>> It's important to realize that car design happens on long timelines
>> (you're designing for something 10 years out, for instance) -- and to
>> make a short-term strategic design decision is to short-change the
>> long-term viability of what you're designing.
>> m.
>>> Correct me if I'm wrong, but this may be an inheritance from a
>>> by-product of product design, accepting the bare minimum of a
>>> working model and very rarely revisiting the original thought.
>>> Meanwhile, people suffer.
>>> 'Interactions' and 'Products' have failed to continue to evolve. I
>>> say we should be designing 'Systems'.
>>> CD Evans
>>> A Systems Designer
> --
> A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know
> they shall never sit in.
> - Greek proverb
> **********************************************************************
> gedas united kingdom limited
> Registered in England no. 1371338
> This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
> and it may be privileged.
> It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to
> whom it is addressed.
> If you have received this in error, please contact the sender
> and delete the material immediately.
> **********************************************************************
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at
> --
> to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
> --
> Questions: lists at
> --
> Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements
> already)
> --
The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the
world; the humorist makes fun of himself.
James Thurber

Peter Bagnall -


24 Nov 2003 - 12:26pm
Jenifer Tidwell

On Mon, 24 Nov 2003, Peter Bagnall wrote:

> I suppose this comes down to an ethical argument. As designers should
> we be held responsible for the long term results of our designs,
> including their social, environmental, and other effect. Or are we only
> responsible for the bottom line.

Isn't it both? And when they clash -- well, that's why we have
such trouble sometimes deciding what the best solution is, and
maybe that drives us to find solutions that are better for both
business and the good of the world.

Personally, I think that's the most rewarding kind of problem
to solve. When it's solvable.

Not to sidetrack us onto a discussion of the design of specific
car models, but I recently had the opportunity to drive a hybrid
car around for a while. (A 2004 Prius.) There *is* still some
innovation going on in the car industry, folks. A lot of it is
on display in the newest hybrids, like this one. I wrote a review
of it here:

It's still a full-sized sedan, though. I, and I suspect CD Evans
too, would like to see much smaller, appropriate-technology solutions
to the transportation problem, especially in developing countries.
But in the Western world, we have a HUGE installed-base problem,
don't we? I don't want to be the first to drive a <1000-lb car
on American roads! Neither does anyone else! And therein lies
the problem...

- Jenifer

P.S. Where would be an appropriate place to "publish" a review
like that? Boxes and Arrows? Seems outside their charter...

Jenifer Tidwell
w: jtidwell at
h: jtidwell at

Syndicate content Get the feed