Does ‘Design’ means making things look pretty?

Lockdown, when everything was shutting down, I was happy as I found a key to find and explore my inner self and for obvious reasons, my sibling is always a part of whatever I do.

So amidst lockdown, we decided to try our hands-on cooking and our poor kitchen still cries for help.

We decided to have buttermilk one day and as usual, my excited sibling popped up and said, I l try it and it’s going to be the best in the entire world. He poured the curd, and then added a plethora of ingredients like green chilly, ginger, cumin, in the jar.

He just placed the jar and rotated the knob.

Do you all think, we enjoyed the refreshing drink?

Absolutely not. Why, because as soon as the knob was rotated, there was a humongous sound, and it took us a fraction of seconds to realize that the so-called buttermilk was spilled all over the kitchen and could be clearly visible as a layer of face mask on us as well.

As usual, firstly it was mandatory to make fun of each other, and then we imagined the picture of how we are going to get good from mum.

Suddenly the Tom and Jerry decided to pair up as a team and cleaned the entire mess.

After cleaning up the entire mess, we took a sigh of relief. Sigh of relief, I actually give it a thought, that was it actually my sibling’s mistake. Should I blame him for the fuss?

With a heavy heart, I have to say no. It wasn’t his fault. Why? How?

It’s actually the mistake of design.

My brother was using the grinder for the first time He had no clue that when we place the jar on the machine, it has to be adjusted and fixed first, and then we need to place our hand on the lid, lock it in a particular manner so that nothing spills out.

Slide, Push, Pull or bang??

Before diving deep, I would like to ask all of you, has this ever happened with any one of you, that while entering a building where the doors are made of glass, you got stuck that which is the door and which is glass? Or have you ever banged your head because of this confusion?

Was it your fault? Sometimes might be, if you were distracted by your phone but mostly it’s not. How?

It is quite common and it’s not our fault. The fault lies in the design of the door.

You might be wondering, DESIGN, really! Let’s understand first, what actually this term means.

A good design is something that doesn’t require any effort to understand.

What is design? Most people think that design is about making things look pretty — a decoration. It’s a myth. The doors might look fancy and exclusive, but they won’t solve their purpose if any individual bangs their head on it.

Design is for everyone and no one in particular. A design is considered good when it has meaning and connects with people.

Yes, there should be a balance between aesthetics and functionality.

Beautifully designed products get half of their credibility because of the visual appeal. It’s the developer’s job to pull the rest of the features to that level. Most people think if it looks good, it has to work well as well.

In case of the problems related to the door, what could be the solution? Any guesses?

There could be signage plates or boards which display push or pull, door handles also depicting the same.

Arrows could be used as signifiers on those gates that slide. People are habitual of understanding these signifiers. These are common things but still very crucial for a design.

There are two important components of design Discoverability and Understanding.

Discoverability- Half of the job is done when the user is able to figure out what actions could be performed after looking at a product.

For eg: The shape toys for the kids, which enables them to identify the geometry and insert it into a stack of similar shapes.

Understanding- A product is made for the users, so users should get an easy idea that how it could be used. We come across a myriad of products daily. Few of them are easy to use but some might require a user manual and guides. For eg: A digital camera or design software that would need a crutch of the user manual or tooltips to make the life of the user easy.

Let’s look at the bigger picture

My grandfather, a man with silver hair and a golden heart used to get frustrated while dealing with the remote control of the television.As whenever he tends to increase the volume, he accidentally presses the exit button.An example of a bad user experience. How? The primitive remotes used to have a plethora of buttons. Were all of them of utmost importance?

Recently, we purchased a microwave that has a plethora of buttons and options, which sometimes confuses me. Even two buttons perform the same function. Now, after struggling with the functionalities, I ended up using only two buttons that can solve all the purposes.

Is there anything that can be done in order to improvise the designs?

The answer is feedback and reiterations.

With time design has evolved. Generally, we talk about the latest trends. The latest trend in the field of Design is ‘Human-Centered Design.’

Human-Centered Design

It amalgamates psychology with design. It includes a systematic approach to understand the behavior of the user, then meets the needs accordingly.

How it could be achieved? We can understand the behavior by observing the user while handling a product, conduct surveys, and researches.

This amalgamation has created wonders in the field of design,

If I talk about those messy remote controls, the problem was solved by a famous psychologist, Hick who suggested that displaying too many options could be cumbersome. Let me share a picture.

These are quick hacks that people opted to help the elderly:

The designers got a cue and they opted to follow the minimalist approach. Designers actually amalgamate their design with human psychology and then after a lot of iterations finally a product comes into the market.

Smart TV remotes have definitely made life easy. Phew! ‘Thanks to the ‘Designers’ and the emergence of ‘Human-Centered Design’

Does Human- Centered Design prevailed for ages?

This approach is vintage. The ideology, principles, the structure of Human-Centered Design is primitive and has been applied for the last many decades.

Bon Appetite!

Does anyone here like biscuits? You might be wondering what biscuits has to do with Design.

How was the first biscuit was made? Curious?

The first biscuit ever was a flat cake that was re-baked. Hence the name “bis”(twice) “cuit”(cooked). It was very hard and difficult to chew but was a savior diet for the soldiers and sailors around the 19th century.

During the time of King Louis XIV, biscuits became very popular and they were called stone bread. Then biscuits were prepared in order to provide nutrition and were soft too. Nowadays we can see a plethora of options for biscuits, chocolate, cream, digestive, and the list goes on and on.

If you closely observe, a user is of utmost importance for ages. The biscuits are also part of the reiterated design process. The whole process revolves around the user, research, reiterations are part of this cycle.

According to famous Psychiatrist and researcher Helen Riess: “We must understand the situation from the other person’s physical, psychological, social, and spiritual perspectives.”

Human-Centred Design begins and ends with users. It is curated and crafted from the perspective of the user.

What’s Next?

There are many more topics we need to discuss in detail, follow me, and keep an eye on this place. In the next few posts I will be writing in detail about the following topics:

  • Chromotherapy.
  • The Famous Five
  • Sujok Therapy

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Thanks for reading 😊 Cheers, keep learning and sharing 😊.

Creative designer and tinkerer.Specialises in Graphic and UI Design.Felicitated with Guinness World Record twice for painting.