Has design left us?
Has design really left us? Did design craftsmanship became extinct in some areas? With all user experience, service design, design thinking and empowerment of the user and customer in controlling the consumer market, we still have so many examples of very poor design unfortunately, I will not mention all the elevator buttons I have been confused and frustrated with, but I do have some nice examples;
My mother was forced to change her television provider due to new technology in her neighbourhood, her old analog tv did not communicate well with the new digital information, so we decided to buy her a new tv set to make life more simple, but with the new combination of product in the house, her remote control need to be handled in a very specific way, in a very specific order and timing… we managed to teach her to use it, however when we visit her (children and grandchildren) we are not able to do the sequence proper, so only or 77 year old mother can switch on the tv, while it once was so simple with one button only, on or off. Why are these devices more and more complex instead of simple to use? Are we going backwards in time with design?
Then this example, my mother staying at my sister’s place, not able to cook dinner or even make a cup of tea, since the device does not communicate well with her, luckily my niece was so clever to help her grandma out, and placed these notes on the induction plate, so grandma was able to cook a nice dinner, feel more comfortable while enjoying her grandchild’s effort to help her even more ; ) I would love to have a device with these notes engraved in it for ever ; )
Another example which amazed me, at a new university building in one of the meeting rooms, I saw this; the device to manage the roomclimate is not clear in usage, so they mounted a sticker with information on how to use it next to it… Shouldn’t this product designer, the company developing this be ashamed or be fined even???
Last example: I was teaching at the university of applied science in Amsterdam recently, since the sun was shining suddenly the outdoor curtain was closing automatically for climate management indoors, so it became dark inside. The students then got up and started waving at the ceiling (normally when it get’s dark in the classroom, the motion detectors think the room is empty and shuts down the light for energy saving, even if we are in their with 30 students) – but nothing happened. I got up walked towards the door and found a light switch, and switched it on – then there was light again! All students were laughing loud, since they never would have thought of using the light-switch and thought I was very clever….. is this world real????
Now I would love to play this game once with my students… we all stand in one corner of the classroom quietly, wait for the sensors to think we are not there and the lights will be switched off, then, one by one each student has to find a way to cross the room, without the sensors noticing him/her, when the lights goed on, that moving student has to step outside the room and wait till all students who manage in darkness to cross the room are done…. how much fun would that be?
Let’s play more! ;P
(image: Eadweard Muybridge, 1887. )