Designs for a happy life

11 Apr 2005 - 7:39am
9 years ago
9 replies
637 reads
Lada Gorlenko
2004

Toasters, clock-radios, vacuum cleaners - everyday devices, found in
everyday homes. So how do manufacturers make us buy more of what we
already have? By getting product designers to think harder about how
we use things, and designing products for couples, not just
individuals.

Now it's BBC's turn to draw public's attention to design.

WARNING: Not to be read by purists, as the following clause may cause
anger and discontent:

<quote> With today's complex gadgetry a key role of the designer doing
this is designing the behaviour of the things so that they do what you
expect and want of them. It is called "interaction design" or
"usability" and it is about making the user's life easier by making
things easier to use.</quote>

For the rest, enjoy!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4432317.stm

Lada

Comments

11 Apr 2005 - 7:56am
Alain D. M. G. ...
2003

I hope they will bring back desks for ladies such as the Lady's desk
(also known as the slant-top desk, narrow version) and the "bonheur-du-
jour" (which was a more delicate and more decorated version of the
"bureau a gradin") and of course, all those gendered forms like the
gentleman's fire screen desk and the lady's fire screen desk.

Alain Vaillancourt

--- Lada Gorlenko <lada at acm.org> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Toasters, clock-radios, vacuum cleaners - everyday devices, found in
> everyday homes. So how do manufacturers make us buy more of what we
> already have? By getting product designers to think harder about how
> we use things, and designing products for couples, not just
> individuals.

__________________________________________________________
Lèche-vitrine ou lèche-écran ?
magasinage.yahoo.ca

11 Apr 2005 - 11:54am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Apr 11, 2005, at 5:39 AM, Lada Gorlenko wrote:

> WARNING: Not to be read by purists, as the following clause may cause
> anger and discontent:
>
> <quote> With today's complex gadgetry a key role of the designer doing
> this is designing the behaviour of the things so that they do what you
> expect and want of them. It is called "interaction design" or
> "usability" and it is about making the user's life easier by making
> things easier to use.</quote>

That's an absolute insult and an entirely unnecessary comment.

If you think the likes of me have ever claimed usability or interaction
design is not part of the job, you simply have not been paying
attention. As I've always said, it's simply one *component* of the
design process of what it is we have to do. But the job is much bigger
than those singular pieces of a much larger puzzle.

This is going to be a good week, I can tell already.

Andrei

11 Apr 2005 - 3:58pm
Lada Gorlenko
2004

>> WARNING: Not to be read by purists, as the following clause may cause
>> anger and discontent:

AH> That's an absolute insult and an entirely unnecessary comment.

Andrei, sorry, no insult was meant. I keep assuming that highly
intelligent people (yet alone those belonging to a "sacred
profession") who get together around a water-cooler for an inspiring
chat would suspect tongue-in-cheek tone before suspecting any personal
insult. But I realise that not all my assumptions may hold water.

Lada

12 Apr 2005 - 9:57pm
Jim Leftwich
2004

I saw Andrei's response to this, but my own is just sort of puzzled.

Making things easier to use is very definitely at the heart of the
interaction design I'm familiar with and practice. I think some have
been perhaps misreading previous threads.

Is the very excellent goal of "making things simpler" not what
"purists" (whatever that means) want? I guess Lada's later statement
claiming irony or something was an attempt to deflect Andrei's
response, but to me it's just muddled. I don't understand what it's
implying. I did see the implied slam to the phrase "sacred" (which I
should hasten to point out to the confused, doesn't imply anything
religious - but mostly that design deserves more than just a "day
job's" effort - more than just putting in one's 9 to 5 and then calling
it quits. It's a field that requires some significant and
extraordinary personal committments and risktaking efforts. I don't
find this a statement worth making light of, much less completely
misconstrue or make confused snarks about, as done below.)

Making things simple is very definitely a goal of many product
projects. At least it certainly seems to to me.

Jim

On Apr 11, 2005, at 12:21 PM,
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-request at lists.interactiondesigners.com
wrote:

> From: Lada Gorlenko <lada at acm.org>
> Date: April 11, 2005 5:39:59 AM PDT
> To: IxDG
> <discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com>
> Subject: [ID Discuss] Designs for a happy life
> Reply-To: Lada Gorlenko <lada at acm.org>
>
>
> Toasters, clock-radios, vacuum cleaners - everyday devices, found in
> everyday homes. So how do manufacturers make us buy more of what we
> already have? By getting product designers to think harder about how
> we use things, and designing products for couples, not just
> individuals.
>
> Now it's BBC's turn to draw public's attention to design.
>
> WARNING: Not to be read by purists, as the following clause may cause
> anger and discontent:
>
> <quote> With today's complex gadgetry a key role of the designer doing
> this is designing the behaviour of the things so that they do what you
> expect and want of them. It is called "interaction design" or
> "usability" and it is about making the user's life easier by making
> things easier to use.</quote>
>
> For the rest, enjoy!
>
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4432317.stm
>
> Lada

12 Apr 2005 - 9:57pm
Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Oh, it's a *water-cooler*? Sorry, I must've mistook it for an altar!

Cheers,
Liz ;)

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.com]On Behalf Of Lada Gorlenko
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 1:59 PM
To: IxDG
Subject: Re[2]: [ID Discuss] Designs for a happy life

>> WARNING: Not to be read by purists, as the following clause may cause
>> anger and discontent:

AH> That's an absolute insult and an entirely unnecessary comment.

Andrei, sorry, no insult was meant. I keep assuming that highly
intelligent people (yet alone those belonging to a "sacred
profession") who get together around a water-cooler for an inspiring
chat would suspect tongue-in-cheek tone before suspecting any personal
insult. But I realise that not all my assumptions may hold water.

Lada

13 Apr 2005 - 1:29am
Peter Merholz
2004

On Apr 12, 2005, at 7:57 PM, Elizabeth Bacon wrote:

> Oh, it's a *water-cooler*? Sorry, I must've mistook it for an altar!

Clearly understandable, considering the wide-eyed zealots gathered
around it.

I guess design is sacred, seeing as how its devoted acolytes become
defensive at the slightest perceived offense.

--peter

14 Apr 2005 - 12:37pm
Sanchez, Mario
2005

Jim wrote:
> Making things simple is very definitely a goal of many product
> projects. At least it certainly seems to to me.

I try to avoid the term "simple" because it has too many connotations, and often leads people to make inappropriate decisions. I found that shifting the focus from "make it more simple" to "make it more meanigful" drives you to appropriate levels of simplicity & complexity, in the appropriate areas.

Mario Sanchez

14 Apr 2005 - 2:56pm
Dave Malouf
2005

On 4/14/05 1:37 PM, "Sanchez, Mario" <Mario.Sanchez at fishersci.com> wrote:

> I try to avoid the term "simple" because it has too many connotations, and
> often leads people to make inappropriate decisions. I found that shifting the
> focus from "make it more simple" to "make it more meanigful" drives you to
> appropriate levels of simplicity & complexity, in the appropriate areas.

Hi Mario,
I often also do the same, but use the term clarity instead of simplicity b/c
when we say complex we are talking about the ability to understand as much
as the ability to do. So clear and easy to me replace "simple" while I think
"meaningful" does not actually act as a direct analog to "simple".
Meaningful to me is another axis or pane to address, as would
enticing/desireable

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org
dave at ixdg.org
dave at synapticburn.com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

15 Apr 2005 - 2:40pm
Sanchez, Mario
2005

David Heller wrote:
> I often also do the same, but use the term clarity instead of
> simplicity b/c
> when we say complex we are talking about the ability to
> understand as much
> as the ability to do. So clear and easy to me replace
> "simple" while I think
> "meaningful" does not actually act as a direct analog to "simple".
> Meaningful to me is another axis or pane to address, as would
> enticing/desireable

I think that we agree on a basic concept - that "simplicity" in and of itself is not the goal. Often, complexity adds richness, robustness, and usefulness. Here is an online tool for chemists to use to find all the various organic chemicals than contains a certain molecular structure (or portion thereof):
http://www.acros.be/portal/alias__Rainbow/lang__en/tabID__35/DesktopDefault.aspx

This is a java applet that requires quite a bit of subject-matter expertise and some hand-eye coordination. It requires a person to draw a molecular structure by dropping shapes and letters into the correct configuration. It would be much *simpler* for them to simply type text into a search box, but this more complex tool is wildly popular (among a limited user community) and yields much better results. The key is that it asks the appropriate question for the appropriate task... instead of asking for a text string that describes the molecule, it asks for the molecule itself.

Mario Sanchez.

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