Finally, I had some time to sit down and watch the documentary: Objectified, directed and produced by Gary Hustwit. Brilliant film about the design of objects, what the relationship is between it and the user. It does discuss a lot of things about what is good design. Jony Ives is featured for a bit in the film. It does shed light on some aspects of the design process.
The one part that piqued my interest most was about two thirds through the film. An interesting food for thought, regarding technology. Bill Moggridge, Co-founder of IDEO said something I think has some weight. He designed a computer called GRID. The laptop is rather boxy and it’s design is nothing the write about. Boxy is what it is. He states that relationship between the user and the design of the physical computer becomes non-existent as he delved more into inputting data into it. Moggridge could care less about the physical design of GRID, because the experience of the software was what was becoming more important.
I have to say I agree, and don’t agree. I agree with the necessity of the interaction design or user interface to feel completely natural that all else is moot, but to say that a person becomes completely unaware of the design of the product is something I don’t believe holds truth anymore.
As buyers, we make our choices based on design. We are naturally drawn to things that look nicer. It is something that does matter. That’s like saying I don’t care how ugly my car is on the outside, because the inside handles like a smooth sports car. From a software designer’s perspective, the software might be the most important. The same goes for a hardware engineer. To disregard the relationship is to disregard the entire reason for the product to exist.
Good design for technology and electronics needs to be a combination of software and design. Only then does it feel natural. The more natural mechanical objects feel in reality, the less mechanical they become and more as extensions of us.
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