World Industrial Design Day – Show and Tell Me Design

Last Wednesday the 29th of June I attended “Show and Tell Me Design” at UniSA.

It was run to celebrate World Industrial Design Day, by the University of South Australia and the Design Institute of Australia. There was a panel discussion about the definition of the term ‘Innovation’ in regards to Industrial Design and Product Design, with some local designers (including one of my tutors Dan McLean)

The best part of the night however was the ‘Show and Tell’, where anyone could contribute an example of good design and bad design, which then was discussed. This was a great concept (thanks to the organiser Shane Haddy, who I studied with and because I’m studying part-time and it is taking so long, he has actually graduated and is now tutoring some of my classes).

It was a funny and frank night, and I learnt quite a bit. Toothpaste tubes that allow toothpaste to smear around the cap are both bad (from the consumers p.o.v.) and good (from the manufacturers p.o.v.). Dyson AirBlades are a good idea, though possibly ripped off from Japanese dryers that are much better, yet the yellow markings are inappropriate for a toilet (yellow in a toilet is a colour that says “wee”) and they are poorly executed with lots of areas to collect grunge and muck, blowing air onto your skin has health implications. Lego is hands down the best thing ever. Plus if you give students cheap beer they get a little rowdy, but we’ve all been there.

In 25 words or less you nominated an example of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ design. I nominated Lego as the ‘good’ design:

Lego

Lego

  • LEGO is the ideal toy- modular, compatible, safe, sturdy, durable,  multifarious, copious.
  • It also demonstrates an impossible feature- no diminishing returns. Each time you get more LEGO, you don’t get a few more parts, you gets thousands and millions more combinations.

and I nominated  TV remotes as the ‘bad’ design:

  • Look at them all, massive piles of shit.
  • Too many buttons, hard to use, hard to see, hard to find.
  • TV’s won’t work without them.
  • A unique venn diagram of crapness; where inhumane engineering meets marketing-driven feature creep, to create a glorious intersection of frustration and carpal tunnel syndrome.

(I’m very proud of the ‘venn diagram’ analogy)

Here are some photos of the night: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.210342712343964.58608.207251842653051

Show and Tell Me design

Show and Tell Me design

Overall, the ‘good’ design award winner was Lego, responsible for so many ID’ers starting down that road, and unanimously the  ‘bad’ design winner was television (and other AV equipment) remote controls.

I asked the question about remote controls on the Core77 forums: http://boards.core77.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=25074

and was pointed to these great links about remotes and the consumer product user experience, by Jakob Nielsen and Donald Norman and others:

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040315.html

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040607.html

http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/activity-centered_design_why_i_like_my_harmony_remote_control.html

http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/the_perils_of_home_theater.html

I suppose I’m mostly disappointed by the OEM remote control market- outsourcing the main user interaction to an off-the-shelf product. It’s almost like most manufacturers have contempt for their customers.
Then I saw this ‘Magic Motion’ from LG which looks similar what I started thinking about in my head- HUD display, very few buttons, mouse like:
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