Sunday, April 13, 2008

Experience Design and Authenticity - Is There A Connection?

The visual arts in the design of everyday things ...

"Is design being assumed to be an offshoot of visual arts of visual art is an offshoot of design? Or is interactive design an offshoot of theatre arts? There are many common grounds. No questions designers often draw inspirations from visual arts whether it is art book or galleries. There are also examples of artist look to commercial design and technology for inspirations. Let me think of one example.

I think good designers do not need to hang out in art galleries and museums. Just look around you and let everyday objects and experiences to inspire you. I know many see popular objects as tacky or lack of style. But sometimes this attitude blinds them from many interesting and inspiring solutions. I am not saying that style exist in all everyday objects of experiences, they can be a great source of ideas that can rival high style counterparts. IDEO's human factor leader Jane Fulton Suri published a book called "Thoughtless Acts" which captures many amazing and provocative ways people react or adapt to things and the world around them. Cure little book with lots of pictures. The goal of the book is to inspire examples of intuitive design. This is an excellent example of how everyday things and actions can be a gold mine for new ideas. May be I should put together a book with my hundreds of photos on everyday service experiences. That's a good idea.

How do we celebrate everyday objects? Often we don't buy these objects for their "design," but it's because of their design that they find their way to us. They don't look pretty at first and somehow we get used to it. They may not be art objects but they represent elegant solutions to our real-world problems. You can buy them from Wal-Mart and marry form and function and make economic sense. There are plenty of examples.

How about everyday experiences? Often these little experiences (digital or real world) are not engineered to be great, but somehow they find a way to us and we feel comfortable with it. They don't appear to be great at first and somehow we get used to it. They may not be places for special occasions but they represent a third place we spend our time. People are friendly not because they are trained to act that way but they are simply who they are. It is called authenticity. We can tolerate those long waits or any human errors because we know they are like us - being humans. The questions why we do we tolerate these service hiccups in those places and get mad when it happens as a result of a service breakdown in a large company whether it is hotel, airline or retail chain? I think it has to be with authenticity.

A tales of two experiences: Mecca and Alinea. Both are my favorite experiences (photos above). "    (Continued via Putting people first, innovation playground Idris Mootee)    [Usability Resources]

Visual Design of Ordinary Things - Usability, User Interface Design

Visual Design of Ordinary Things

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