Archive for the ‘design’ Category
Matt Gemmell on skeuomorphism and intuitive design:
Matt, a programmer by trade, addresses the skeuomorphism debate more effectively than most designers I’ve heard arguing about it.[Here's my pull quote:]
Children don’t seem to be having problems grasping those concepts, even if Jakob Neilsen thinks they should. They’re not confused by interactive data-surfaces; they’re frustrated when actual, printed content in the physical world doesn’t respond the way they now expect it to.
Intuitiveness has become unhelpfully conflated with familiarity. The reasoning is simple enough: things that are already familiar don’t have to be re-learned, so we assume that they’re more “intuitive”. That’s a big assumption, but we treat it as if it’s fact.
Sometimes, familiar things aren’t as intuitive as they could be, and a new, unfamiliar thing might be more so. Another possibility is that a new thing might be equally intuitive, but also have other benefits which justify its initial unfamiliarity. In either case, intuitiveness cannot be divorced from context.
In June of 1956, Frank Lloyd Wright — a man posthumously recognised as “the greatest American architect of all time” by the AIA — received an unusual letter from 12-year-old Jim Berger, a boy looking to commission the design of a home for his dog, Eddie, by the same architect who designed his father’s house 6 years previous. Incredibly, Frank Lloyd Wright agreed and, as seen below, supplied a full set of drawings for “Eddie’s House” the next year. Construction was eventually completed by Jim’s father in 1963.
Eddie hated his new home. It was demolished in 1973.
The full exchange can be found below, along with a photo of the completed dog house. It was the smallest structure ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and possibly the least used.
Source: Letters of Note
If I tell you the greatest thing about the iPhone 5 is how it “feels,” you’ll accuse me of being a superficial aesthete who cares more for form than function. You don’t care how a phone was built or how it looks; you just want it to work. But I think that argument misses something important about what it means for a phone to “work well”: When you’re holding a device all the time, how it feels affects its functionality. Or, as Steve Jobs might say, how it feels is how it works.
[I know this to be true from objects I craft myself. If people are going to touch it, how it feels is a huge part of how it works. I recently built some objects that were "so nice" that the folks they were built for refused to use them as they were designed. In short, they put a cover on them. An utter failure.]
Fairness also dictates that the length of a line should be commensurate with the value of the product or service for which we’re waiting. The more valuable it is, the longer one is willing to wait for it. Hence the supermarket express line, a rare, socially sanctioned violation of first come first served, based on the assumption that no reasonable person thinks a child buying a candy bar should wait behind an old man stocking up on provisions for the Mayan apocalypse.
[Great article. Not to be missed by folks who deal with any form of waiting time…]
It seems democratic and non-elitist to set it and forget it and let the users take over. But the tools we use (Wikipedia) and the brands we covet (Nike or Ducati) resolutely refuse to become democracies.
[Spot on. great design is not democratic, never was, never will be.]
Source: Seth’s Blog
Most people don’t have great taste. (And they don’t care, so it doesn’t matter to them.) They usually like tasteful, well-designed products, but often don’t recognize why, or care more about other factors when making buying decisions.
People who naturally recognize tasteful, well-designed products are a small subset of the population. But people who can create them are a much smaller subset.
Taste in product creation overlaps a lot with design: doing it well requires it to be valued, rewarded, and embedded in the company’s culture and upper leadership. If it’s not, great taste can’t guide product decisions, and great designers leave.
No amount of money, and no small amount of time, can buy taste.
[I'm not sure I quite agree with the "People who naturally recognize tasteful, well-designed products are a small subset of the population" line. I think the subset is those who *think* about the design, rather than the more common, "yeah, that works, yeah, I like it" intuitive understanding majority. Since taste is the ability to discern and consider the differences rather than intuit them… The argument here is simple, most people would gravitate toward a better a better design, but they let a whole slew of other factors (what they've been told and by whom, and their own biases of many years etc) get in the way. Remove some of this, and the design that works, one that provides a good experience, every time.]
[I liked these two. Well done.]
Studio H:T have designed the Shield House in Denver, Colorado.
Description from Studio H:T
This urban infill project juxtaposes a tall, slender curved circulation space against a rectangular living space. The tall curved metal wall was a result of bulk plane restrictions and the need to provide privacy from the public decks of the adjacent three story triplex. This element becomes the focus of the residence both visually and experientially. It acts as sun catcher that brings light down through the house from morning until early afternoon. At night it becomes a glowing, welcoming sail for visitors.
Q: What makes a great designer?
A: It is so important to be light on your feet, inquisitive and interested in being wrong. You have that wonderful fascination with the what if questions, but you also need absolute focus and a keen insight into the context and what is important – that is really terribly important. Its about contradictions you have to navigate.
[I loved this answer. Also… "Our goal is simple objects, objects that you can’t imagine any other way. Simplicity is not the absence of clutter. Get it right, and you become closer and more focused on the object. For instance, the iPhoto app we created for the new iPad, it completely consumes you and you forget you are using an iPad." and this "One of the things we’ve really learnt over the last 20 years is that while people would often struggle to articulate why they like something - as consumers we are incredibly discerning, we sense where has been great care in the design, and when there is cynicism and greed. It’s one of the thing we’ve found really encouraging."]