I have come to the conclusion that so often the people who design things have never actually used them.
Everything mankind has was designed by someone. We live in design. So why are we so poor at it?
Architects who have never lived in an apartment, visited a mall or have a clue what function their design is to house. Transportation ‘experts’ who have never taken a bus, driven a car or been a hapless pedestrian or cyclist. They have not seen the area in question other than as a google map. Sometimes, I am sure, the only thing that is considered is how much revenue will be generated, without a thought to virtually everything else; traffic flow, the environment, the neighborhood or anything.
I watch condominiums pop up like strip malls once did, and I marvel at how little thought was put into the actual living conditions of its future residents. Balconies are the biggest offender; offset so the people above you can look directly down onto yours; adjoining balconies that unscrupulous neighbors can easily visit your apartment, or listen in to all your outdoor conversations, or you have to endure all theirs with radios and children blasting. Access to the balcony is through your bedroom (who was the genius that thought that up?!) Inside we have small cut up rooms and doors so large that you have huge wall space you cannot use. Facts, such as we have 8 months of harsh winter are ignored. We need good fitting, sealed thermo glass windows. We don’t need tiled courtyards that become skating rinks. We have concerns about increased traffic on residential roads – Oh! The list is a long one for us ‘box’ dwellers.
Don’t even get me started on buses!
Poor design is rampant; exposed wires and mechanical parts on things subjected to the elements. Things so hard to use or so needlessly complicated, (think computer programs or electronics here), designed to look futuristic, sexy or whatever but are buggers to use. One function actually has 5 equally useless functions, pressing 1 takes you back to the beginning so you have 10 functions to wade back through. Small almost invisible buttons located where you normally hold an item so they get pressed when you don’t want. Fancy names for mundane functions so it takes a long time to figure out what the heck it really does. Another long list.
Many companies are not open to suggestions from the people who use their items daily and know what works, and what doesn’t.
The absolute worst however, is manuals, or rather the lack of manuals, cleverly (I say this word because those who did this think it is very forward thinking) replaced by tutorials. Manuals can be poorly written and illustrated, missing key points and diagrams, too much technical jargon and a lot of ‘you should already know what to do stupid’, but tutorials rely on you asking the right question in a technical language you are not privy to and this can soon get me screaming. Give me an index!
The best design of anything is something that addresses the primary function(s) of the object in question and then considers a lot of other factors around this, without losing sight of the main objective and going cutesy, artsy or futuristic. Making it look nice should be the last consideration, not the first.
I love simple, easy to use and ‘clean design’ (something that also looks good). Oh and some design is so brilliant it takes my breath away. I am awed by those trying to solve the problems of our ever changing world, who are environmental and people sensitive. You know – improving our and our fellow creatures lives.
You probably already know what I am about to say – we don’t need another damn telephone, 10,000 Teslas, a wall, or more rockets and junk floating up in space! Our world needs help!
Great design comes from those who realize the fun part of designing is the process; the research, the prototypes, the puzzles that need to be solved, and that it is an ongoing process, the tweaking can be endless, there are always new advances in technology and materials, the purpose of items evolves too.
Great design is making something that actually improves peoples lives and our world.
Like tutorials, ask the right question first. What are the main function(s)/purpose(s)/consideration(s) of this thing? And then keep on asking.