Life is made up of a never ending series of interactions and experiences with people, places, ideas and things. Designers have a tendency to look at the interactions and experiences they have with the world differently than most.
My Office Rocks
Right now I’m sitting in an office chair that allows me to adjust every angle to find the ultimate level of comfort. I’m sitting at an antique desk, with just the right amount of legroom, a bar at the base to use as a footrest, and beautiful carvings on each drawer. Both items are beautifully designed.
Your Door Sucks
As designers we always think over and under and around challenges we encounter. We don’t just think, “Wow, that sucked. Oh well.” We think, “Wow, that sucked. This is how we can fix it.”
Yesterday I went to a friend’s apartment. There were two doors that allowed entry to the building. One had a bright yellow sticker on the front that said, “pull to open”. There was no door handle. I looked around, and there was a tiny sign below eye level that said, “Please use other door.” And the other door that you had to “pull” had a push bar. By the time I finally got in the door I was pretty irritated.
You may be thinking, “Who cares? It’s a freaking door.”
You’re right. No big deal. Unless there was a person trying to get into his apartment building to escape someone trying to attack him. Those 25 seconds of screwing around with the door could make a very serious difference.
Saving Lives, One Cup Of Water At A Time
Designers don’t just bang out exactly what someone asks us to create on the spot. We get paid to investigate and evaluate what our client actually needs, identify the best solution to meet that need, and then make it happen.
IDEO teamed up with Acumen Fund and the Bill & Linda Gates Foundation to design ways for people in some of the poorest countries in the world to get safe, clean drinking water.
The solutions aren’t cookie cutter. Different regions have different challenges. The IDEO crew goes in and conducts user research and chats with the people they’re trying to reach to identify the major issues and stumbling blocks folks are encountering. Then the teams work together to design creative ways to alleviate those problems and save lives.
The way designers think is becoming widely recognized as a skill set that applies to all kinds of situations in life, including making high level business decisions. WE’RE SLOWLY TAKING OVER THE WORLD! (I’m kidding. Mostly.) 😉