Sunday, 20 February 2011

The challenges of design

Bad design costs the same as good design, so why oh why do so many people insist on the bad type??  In fact if anything bad design costs more because of the number of revisions often involved in getting from the good type to the horribly compromised approved version.

Many many years ago I took a cheap £3 standard two armed corkscrew and £27 Alessi "Anna" corkscrew to a product development meeting to try and ram into the heads of the dullard American design team I was working with the difference. The material product and tooling cost was slightly greater for the latter of course,  but the retail selling price differential and the product margin was far greater.

I so often see the same issues repeating themselves, people lacking vision, or understanding of design principles, or even just the importance of taking time to get the brief right in the beginning.  Fail to achieve that and you end up with a design dogs dinner or a user experience that sends people clicking elsewhere faster than you can say bad navigation.  Not to mention the designer wanting to shoot themselves over scope creep and client meddling.

All of which was prompted by my friend Fran sending me this link to The Oatmeal (click here to read the entire cartoon story, it'll only take a tick and if you work in anything remotely creative you'll smile and nod knowingly).

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Far beyond the looking glass

When Lewis Caroll wrote children's classic Through the Looking Glass, circa 1871, I very much doubt his imagination could stretch anywhere near as far as the possibilities that glass surfaces can take us today and will take us in the future.  There's always lots of talk in thedigital and tech worlds about multi-screen devices and platform agnostic content, Smart-TV's that are web connected, tablet this, touchscreen that (it is the Mobile World Congress this week after all)  but component manufacturers' vital role in the innovation chain often get overlooked.

Fair play therefore to Corning (a glass manufacturer) for publishing this nice (if a tad long) video showcasing the role of glass in our ever increasingly digitally connected future. Can't help but make those shareholder meetings more interesting.

Well worth reading this interesting interview yesterday with the super smart Helge Tenno on the connected future too.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Save the trees one PDF at a time: Digital Treasure

My friend Mark just flagged up this brilliant idea from the World Wild Life Fund.

Download the software to give you the option to save your documents as a WWF rather than a PDF - essentially the same format except the former is nicely branded, giving you an eco-prod into good behaviour every time you see it, AND means the print menu is disabled so you can't waste trees and energy on printing out stuff un-necessarily.

Yes, technically you can enable this setting in Adobe already, yes, there will still always be people that want to print documents, and just occasionally there are documents that really do need reviewing on paper but in a world of e-readers, tablets, netbooks and laptops, the excuses are getting fewer and fewer.

I think this is a brilliant example of someone having a BIG idea and using technology to facilitate it.

Super smart. I hope it catches on.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Elasticity of distance and discounting

The fact that people will shop around and will make a degree of effort if a potential saving is perceived to be significant is hardly surprising. What is interesting though, is this attempt by JiWire (found via Techcrunch) to start to quantify the model  particularly in this era of Groupon type social buying models, Facebook Deals / Foursquare offers and smartphone based price comparison services. Location based services are here to stay and it will be interesting to see how they are developed and exploited.