Rules to design by...

Day Four, Live from SolidWorks World 2008

Don Norman spoke today on how to tie engineering and emotional design. He showed us an images of salt and pepper shakers as an example of bad design. They were burnished stainless steel. One shaker had a hole in the top, and the other shaker had five holes in the top. Norman asked the audience, "Which one is the salt shaker and which the pepper?" Answers were about 50/50 for both. His point: Each side had its good reasons why it picked one over the other. But in the final analysis, it doesn't matter what you think, but rather what the person that filled the things thinks!

Which is for salt and which for pepper?

So his rules to design by are:

1. Think about people. Put people in the designs that are part of the model so you can analyze things such as reach, limits, canter of balance to see if people can actually use the objects you design.

2. Make it usable. Examples of bad design come from common machine tools in machine shops. People have to be contortionists just to run the machines.

3. No signs. A product that needs signs on it is badly designed. People don't read signs anyway.

4. Make it beautiful. Make even things like forklifts beautiful. In a lot of ways, when it comes to design, LOOKS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN REALITY.

View from my hotel room.....

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