If you’re willing, the next time you get to a door, stop. What’s your initial reaction? Push it? Pull it? Doors are one of my favorite examples of lousy design. Shouldn’t opening a door be intuitive? We really need instructions to go through a door? Really??
Our world is filled with poorly designed products we use every day without thinking twice. We’ve come to accept that this is the way it is. We learn how to work around the non-intuitive design and just use the easy-to-figure-out features. Take the USB Pointer for presentations! My natural instinct is to use the up arrow, the one on top, to move the slide ahead, but no! Even though I’m pointing at the screen, I don’t use the up arrow (pointing at the screen), I use the down arrow pointing at me!
Some of the best designed products are simple and long-lasting – like the paper clip! And there are products that just entice us with their elegant, beautiful and comfortable design – like the Vespa, globally recognized as an icon of design.
As you approach work this week, be it leading people, designing products, services or systems, creating marketing material, building circuit boards, writing essays in college, giving presentations, etc., take a few minutes to think who will be using, hearing, reading, sharing your “stuff” and how you can make it easy for them. Just as I asked you to stop the next time you got to a door, stop the next time you’re ‘designing’ and think - how can you make it intuitive, easy, enjoyable and amazingly useful?
p.s. A great read on design for everyday life is The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman!