7 thoughts on “links for 15 November 2006

  1. In my opinion, the best way to get people to not accept poor design is to offer them cost-effective excellent design as an option.

    I’m a believer in the free market system.


  2. hey Jared, I hear you and agree… but I guess when I’m thinking about people who shouldn’t accept bad design, it’s the every day on the street people who have bad design inflicted on them.

    Whenever I travel on the tube in London I see such crazy design for buttons to open the doors. Such a simple task, such poorly designed buttons. And people have to put up with that every day.

    When all it would take is for someone to take a little time to THINK about the design instead of implementing THOUGHTLESS design.

    If the collective groups we call consumers, audience, users etc. just wouldn’t accept thoughtless design any more … how great would that be.

    Because the people who sign the contracts to buy the trains are never going to worry about how the buttons are designed.

  3. Hi Leisa,

    In theory, that works. But think it thru.

    The people who sign contracts to buy the trains need help to decide what is good design and what is bad design. So, who are they going to call for that help? Us, right?

    But if we’re busy turning their constituents against them (by making them somehow not “accept thoughtless design”), how likely is it they’ll turn to us when they need the help?

    I can’t wait for that conversation: “Hey, thanks for getting all of our riders to sign petitions against us. Now, can I pay you gobs of money to help us make it right?”

    I think we’re talking to the wrong people when we go after the “every day on the street people”. We need to reach the people who make the design decisions directly, without alienating them first.

  4. Do the transport people really call us to help decide what is good design and bad design when they’re buying their trains? Not in my experience. If you’re lucky, the train people might give us a call when they’re in the final stages and they want some usability testing done… (ok, well, that might be a little harsh). But there is still an awful lot of thoughtless design that gets through because good design isn’t *enough* of a priority to get it right.

    It becomes a priority when lots of individuals raise their voices, or open their wallets. Public transport (and parking, which we were talking about at work the other day) are poor examples because frequently there is no alternative.

    It’s not that I think we should be sending out petitions and organising protests… I think it’s more about education. Doing more to tell more people about how good design comes about, and how it is a choice that companies make, or not.

    And yes, I know. I’m being a little idealistic and optimistic… but you’ve got to set the bar somewhere… and work out what you can actually implement afterwards.

    If good design becomes more culturally entrenched in our everyday lives then everyone – the consumer/user, the business and the design/usability/UX consultant benefits.

  5. If good design becomes more culturally entrenched in our everyday lives then everyone – the consumer/user, the business and the design/usability/UX consultant benefits.

    I don’t think you can force cultural entrenchment of good design through education without then providing good design. I do think you can get cultural entrechment of good design by just supplying good design everywhere you can.

    Maybe the way to make the transport system upgrade the quality of their design is by making them standout by being farther behind everyone else. Flood the world with good design, as best you can. In my opinion, that’s a more efficient and likely way to achieve your goal, without alienating anyone in the process.

  6. I’m all about flooding the world with good design and not really about alienating people, so in theory I like what you’re saying Jared….

    I guess the question we’re both trying to answer is – what is the best way to get more opportunities to do this flooding you speak of? What is the best way to create the incentives and motivations for companies to see the value of and to engage in good design practices?

    I reckon consumer education and consumer power could be part of the answer (trying to do it in a way that is not alienating to the businesses we potentially want to work with).

    What other ways might we *actually* go about doing this?

  7. […] In a subsequent comment conversation I got to wondering, again, about what we can do to make good design more of a priority. How can we change business processes and product development cycles so that rather than design being an afterthought, the quest for good design moves up the food chain and becomes more of an imperative, a requirement than a potential differentiator. […]

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