why we design..

[OT] gym & po.rn ->perfect comedy show Franz Eder(lustig).avi - YouTube [/OT]

Buying fitness equipment is for most (I guess) customers like buying a letter of indulgence. But when the equipment is standing around at home unused, it reminds them of their sins and forbearances.

I’m always happy using thoroughly functional and appealing equipment in everyday life and of course it’s my goal too, to create items that meet my own expectations.
In my eyes, cheap, ugly and malfunctional stuff blames all parties involved: the designer sells his professional ethics, the manufacturer wastes material and energy, the retailers fu** over the customers and the customers waste their money.

Does anyone know how much ID is involved in the creation of these types of ‘products’? Im just curious as to how involved a designer is when it comes to objects that seem to be based purely on engineering. I look at the ‘dashboard’ (dont know what to call the cockpit area with all the buttons/switches) and it seems like stuff was just stuck where it would fit. Granted, I dont think I would want my jet functioning/operating like the Ford sync, but I look at that mess and think there has to be a better way. Even though I am not a pilot, it seems like there are too many opportunities to make mistakes.

For pilots that probably makes perfect sense. Keep in mind they need to keep an eye on a lot of info at the same time, and be able to trigger multiple controls within a blink of an eye at any given time during the flight. It is for trained pilots, not a casual iTunes user. I’m pretty sure all of it is Designed and human factored to death.

Still, there’s always room for improvements. I wouldn’t be surprised if human factors is #1 cause for accidents, usually is. Would be interesting to compare the first 747 with one that just came out.

Then maybe the title should change to “why I design”.


I, for one, don’t buy into the connection of what a designer does and an emotional connection between a product and its end user. That emotional connection is created by a unique experience between the user and the product. As a designer, I have little to zero control of the infinate possible experiences an end user can have with a product. Will the fishing pole I design be the one a granddaughter catches her first fish with her grandfather or will it be the one of many of an avid fisherman?

Need proof? A lot of horrible products create an positive emotional connection. The recent thread about the cramp, noisy, tin box known as the original Mini is proof. You have probably seen The Gumball Rally. What’s one of the best lines? Its about the Jaguar. - “Beautiful car.” “I wish it ran.”

More proof? How about great products with no emotional connection. I had a 15-year-old Honda. Had no problem selling it, no tears at all. I Still have a 20-year-old TV, 15-year-old microwave, 15-year-old lamps and a whole bunch of other crap I will replace and not shed a tear when the time comes.

Why I design? To create the best value for the end user and the company producing it. If that means an 18-month cycle because technology is obsolete or it is a disposable item, so be it. Emotional connection may be desired, but it is nowhere near required to create value.

That’s a bold statement.

Really, you don’t see any value in creating an emotional connection? I’d argue that all those things you would toss away in a heartbeat are not as well designed as they could be because of the lack of emotional connection you mention. If there is the added benefit that things don’t end up in a landfill and they are more loved, isn’t that value right there?

I had a 40+ year old Mercedes. Sold, it and missed it since. Replaced it with a 07 BMW coupe. Great car, but didn’t have any emotional connection. Now have a 20+ year old BMW that I love. I’d almost trade the 07 BMW for the 97 BMW, even though the new one is worth more than 6X more. That’s emotional value for you.

R

I had a 40+ year old Mercedes. Sold, it and missed it since. Replaced it with a 07 BMW coupe. Great car, but didn’t have any emotional connection. Now have a 20+ year old BMW that I love. I’d almost trade the 07 BMW for the 97 BMW, even though the new one is worth more than 6X more. That’s emotional value for you.

R[/quote]


As i am a caring person, I will happily drive to your place of business and relieve you of your burden, at no cost to you.

As for why I design… it helps to quite the voices in my head.

Chevis W.

Which one?

I never wrote anything of the sort. Do you understand the difference between desired and required?

I love people. I don’t love inanimate objects. For example, the only relationship I have with that TV is that I turn it on and off. Call me crazy, but that relationship is too shallow for any love to occur. The TV does bring value and there is absolutely no reason for me to replace it until it no longer functions. At that point, it will have no value. BTW, everything, you, me, everything eventually winds up in a “landfill”. The concept of forever is a fairy tale.

It seems to me you are confusing sentimental value with love. And I’d argue sentimental value can only be obtained through individual experience. And again, there is little a designer can do to design to an infinate amount of possible experiences.

I’d like to know what percentage of 97 (or should it be 87) BMW owners have the same love. I also wonder what percentage of 07 BMW owners love their cars.

Explain the love between a child and there “blanket” if you think there is no emotional connection then I would like to know what it would be defined as.

Psychologically, a blanket acts as a surrogate for the mother.

And for the third time, please show me where I wrote emotional connection has no value.

That emotional connection is tied more to security than the fact that the blanket was perfectly designed. My 2 year old son cannot survive (he thinks…) without his stuffed puppy and blanket. He’s tied to it because he has slept with it in his bed every day for nearly 2 years. His emotional attachment stems from that puppy and blanket keeping him company in his crib/bed while my wife and I weren’t in the room with him. I did the same thing when I was a kid, but I stopped carrying around a blanket 25 years ago.

I doubt anyone can make a similar connection to a phone, car, plunger, whatever without having it with them from birth.

I’m not saying an emotional connection can’t exist, just that the comparison with a child’s blanket probably isn’t the right one.

Ok, you didn’t write it explicitly, but for sure I think implied it “Emotional connection may be desired, but it is nowhere near required to create value.”.

My point anyhow, was moreso that not only does creating emotional connections create value, but that yes, we designers can be in control of that.

Emotional connections to products can be made in a number of ways. Sentimental value is indeed one. Experience is part of it, but designers can also enable these experiences. Witness the heart shaped chocolate box for valentines…

Which of the following do you think include emotional connections between person and product? Not you specifically, but people?

The love of a kid and teddy bear?
A guy and their boat?
A person and a piece of jewllery?
A person and a work of art?

How many people do you think would say they love their car?

If we go a step further how about a person and a dog? Why is there a difference between animate and inanimate? If it’s input and output, how about a person and a computer?

MY final ID thesis 10+ years ago was initially exactly about this and I got exactly the same pushbacks from the old profs that it was impossible to design an emotional connection into a product (my goal was initially actually to have that emotional connection as the primary function)… I turned them around.

I’m not saying that an emotional connection can be designed to function 100% as intended in all consumers, but not even functional intended functions work as planned all the time. I’m just saying that -

  1. That an emotional connection can add value.
  2. That emotional connection can be “designed” into a product by a designer
  3. That creating that emotional connection in the right applicable product is a sign of good design.

PS> There were several previous threads I recall about this. I could only find one at the moment -

R

Yes but if you could figure out hot to make that kind of connection you would defiantly have a product. i love the study of physcology and try to apply my knowledge to my design process…

All of these (and other) emotional connections are all based upon different elements of Maslow’s Hierarchy.Love and Belongingness is a big one talking about blankets and Teddys. To some extent however, the same value applies in some situations when talking about a cell phone to a young woman alone. The emotional connection that manifests itself different, but the root is the same.

R

Seriously, this was exactly my initial thesis brief - (circa Sept. 2000) - It morphed into something a bit different, but the foundation of potential and research still exists and many products have be created on this basis since.


Background
As noted by Veenhoven (Veenhoven 1991, 1), “To the extent that it depends on need-gratification, happiness is not relative.” These bio-psychological needs, in a Humanistic perspective can be defined by Maslow’s Need Hierarchy, and are linked to human motivation. Belongingness and Love, the first non-physiological/biological need on Maslow’s pyramid, is attained through affectation of love and affection from family members, friends and lovers.

As outlined by Holman (Holman 1986, 119-140), products can inhabit one of 5 emotional roles in a consumer’s life. Augmenting existing human relationships, a product in the role of an Object of Emotion (Holman, 1986), has the potential to fulfill this need and allow a user to achieve a higher state of happiness.

Following current trends of population density increase it is foreseeable that the future home environment will likely be of limited scale. Because of size considerations and minimal space requirements, these environments will need to contain a minimum of objects each with maximum value. This value will be derived from characteristics and qualities both functional and ‘meta-functional’ to improve the user quality of life. As a link between the objects possessed within the home and the outside environment, a device which contributes to the users fulfillment of the needs of Belongingess and Love as a primary functionality, and monitors the home while away (secondary functionality) can be envisioned. In effect, the secondary functionality providing a level of social acceptability for the object’s primary use.

Goals
Using a structured user-centered design methodology similar to that of Hofmeester, et al , the properties and perceptual design cues that relate to the fulfillment of Belongingness and Love will be investigated. As an extension of current explorations into human-product relationships design focus will be on creating a product design concept to fulfill the role of an Object of Emotion (Holman, 1986). The objective design goal as discussed here is to ultimately enable users to achieve a higher level of happiness through addressing needs of Belongingness and Love while providing a secondary functionality to enable social acceptance of the object; thus benefiting in both psychological/social and physiological terms.

Design Initiatives
-review existing research and directions for designing emotional rich products
-review psychological/perceptual effects of form, color, sound, scent, texture with respect to feelings of love and affection
-compare current human-product relationships in adults to human-human relationships to develop a method for enabling fulfillment of emotional/psychological needs
-investigate appropriate other emotion stimulating ‘products’ (toys, art, etc.)

Design Deliverables
-initial design research into products that fulfill similar needs (AIBO, Tamagotchi, teddy bears…)
-exploratory research, focus group testing and documentation of properties that communicate Belongingness and Love.
-conceptual design, including formal study and defining of functionality
-industrial design, including sourcing product functionality components
-final design, including materials/manufacturing studies, costing, CAD

Target Market
As a product to augment human-human relationships is proposed the focus target market for the device is working user with limited time available to foster human relationships. Acting as a object to focus emotive needs upon while away from home and not in contact with others (during work, travel, etc.), the design object will likely become semi-transparent to the users, always present and fulfilling those needs as mentioned.

R

Interesting. I’ve never made that connection, but I can see it now. Very cool.

Again? Seriously?

re·quire /rɪˈkwaɪər/ [ri-kwahyuhr]
verb, -quired, -quir·ing.
–verb (used with object)

  1. to have need of; need: He requires Medical care.

de·sire /dɪˈzaɪər/ [dih-zahyuhr]
verb, -sired, -sir·ing, noun
–verb (used with object)

  1. to wish or long for; crave; want.

You do not need emotional connection to create value. If you believe that, you must believe the converse, without emotional connection, there is no value. Is that what you are implying? If so, please send me your 07 BMW gratis. No emotion = no value. Giving it to me should not be a problem.

  1. Correct. I never wrote anything to the contrary, for the 4th friggin’ time.
  2. To what extent? You don’t love your 07 BMW. I’m sure other owners do. How many? Why? Can it be directly traced to the designer? Do you have any proof the designer has a direct hand in creating that love or is it the ego of the designer opining they created that love?
  3. Correct. But good design does not require an emotional connection. Nor does an emotional connection require the hand of a designer.

In some products creating emotional attachment is very important. It`s sometimes the key feature to make a succesful product. Think buying on impulse. This type of product offers you a lot of fun, can cure stress, you notice and feel it when using it, you enjoy it. Example from this category would be a Dodge Viper.

Then there are another products that put the focus on price, reliability etc. These are “appliances” that you need/want to have but you dont really care how they look like. As long as its working and doesnt annoy you its fine.
Example from this category would be a Toyota Corolla.

Which is better designed and why?



Sorry if I misunderstood your sentiment. I certainly didn’t mean to put words in your mouth or provoke a non-existent argumen.

  1. Correct. I never wrote anything to the contrary, for the 4th friggin’ time.
  2. To what extent? You don’t love your 07 BMW. I’m sure other owners do. How many? Why? Can it be directly traced to the designer? Do you have any proof the designer has a direct hand in creating that love or is it the ego of the designer opining they created that love?
  3. Correct. But good design does not > require > an emotional connection. Nor does an emotional connection > require > the hand of a designer.

I think we’re pretty much in agreement then. I’ll just say that while it is not a requirement, if there are two good designs that only differ where ones makes an emotional connection and the other doesn’t the one that prompts emotion is better :slight_smile:

R

http://www.causes.com/causes/586029-design-a-new-for-designed-in-usa-logo?m=9e4cc0c7&recruiter_id=30339011

we should have pride in what we create - regardless of where it is made.

Why not design a new logo to celebrate that fact? :laughing:

Emotion & value: Talk to any salesperson. They work on emotions before logic. People are far more influenced by emotion than logic. Therefore, their perception of value in a product will be based more on the emotional connection than the logical elements.

For example, if your house is on fire, what would you grab? Perhaps some document like ID or a HD with your design backups would be the most logical thing, but something like an original family photo would be the emotional choice. I bet more people think to grab the photo in a panic.

Why we design: Love and anger. Love of material (wood, metal, plastic, paper, ceramic, cloth). Anger at the frustration of people who have created objects that aren’t worth the effort.