12 May 2009

designing products

Fundamentally, designing a product is an attempt to create something that people will not only desire but also cherish.

So why is so much product design run as if it were a functional (rather than emotional) process with success the result of logic? Why is so much product design a profoundly non-human experience? Even anti-human!

This makes no sense.

Where this seems worst is in digital products.
IMHO, the abilities required to create a digital product that people desire and cherish are the same as needed to create a physical one.
But in digital products - the role of "rational thought" has been elevated so far above the "non-rational" emotional responses as to make the process of designing such a product incredibly sterile -- and the products that emerge reflect this.
If we were all Vulcans - then we would make a decision on which competitive digital product to use primarily based on things like Usability.
But we're not Vulcans. So why do we design these products as if Usability is more important than Emotional Response?

This is why so few digital products tell a story.
And this is why people actually care about so few digital products.

It's time to inject some feeling back into the world of digital product design.


At 7:51 AM, Blogger Gong said...

you appear to be chanelling vitruvius, sir...good for you. he described the 3 "lamps" of architecture (which i, of course, extrapolate into "design", and in your case, "digital design" - firmness, commodity and delight. here's more detail: http://www.bertzpoet.com/columns/voyageur_2007_08_27.pdf

At 12:18 AM, Blogger karl.gilis said...

I agree with almost all the article, but I think you lost it at the end.

The 'feelings' people have with digital, online products often have nothing to do with design. The feeling can be described as 'effective' or 'efficient'. No real emotions.

Think Google. Think eBay. Think Facebook. Think Twitter. Top digital brands. With loyal users.

But what a feeling those sites have. Design wise they are ugly as hell. Usability wise they are bang on. And they have something useful to offer.

There's your feeling... No big emotions.


At 11:07 PM, Blogger chris said...

Just because 99.9% of design on the web sucks doesn't mean that bad web design is actually good.


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