Design in Daily Life
Whether we’re aware of it or not, design surrounds us in our daily life. Take a look around and you will find that everything is designed, from physical products or digital ones, even services. It can be found in the tiniest of places and items, like this font for instance.
But is everything well designed? Well, the short answer is no. Definitely, there is a difference between good and bad design and all of us have experienced it both. Good design works in a way that helps us navigate our daily life, it serves its purpose and adds value. On the other hand, bad design is just plain annoying, in the worst cases even dangerous and it is much easier to spot it because of the frustration it makes us feel.
“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.”
In the late 70s, Dieter Rams, one of the most influential industrial designers of the last 50 years, set out to answer one question — what is good design? With a firm belief that good design can only come from understanding people, he created a set of ten design principles, which can be applied as much to digital design as they do to industrial design. He made an enormous impact on the design industry and the overall concept of product design as we know it today.
Inspired by Rams, I’ve questioned what does good design mean for me and created ten of my own design principles:
- Good design is human-centric,
- Good design is beneficial,
- Good design is inclusive,
- Good design is intuitive,
- Good design is useful,
- Good design is always evolving,
- Good design is aesthetics,
- Good design is trustworthy,
- Good design is eco friendly,
- Good design is simplicity.
The Good and the Bad: Design Examples
I’ve chosen to share three best and three worst design examples in my opinion, whether it be digital and physical products or services.
It profoundly impacted the way we search for our daily info online. It is so popular that it even has its own phrase most people today are familiar with — Google it. It is definitely the best search engine out there — simple, reliable and gets you the right things fast. Constantly evolving and improving, I think we can all agree that Google Search is an iconic part of the Internet. It has blended with our daily lives so seamlessly we probably couldn’t imagine our lives without it.
The bicycle is one of those machines that seems to have existed forever and its invention has had an enormous effect on society. Simplistic in its design, which has changed little over time (the first chain driven model was developed around 1885), bicycles are the most common vehicle of any kind in the world. The bicycle is an inexpensive, fast, healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transport. Overall, sounds pretty good to me.
Let’s think about the traditional banking service for a moment. Admit it, the thought alone is not a pleasant one. No wonder many predicted the end of traditional banks years ago and I am not sad about it, not at all. Thankfully, the market is changing due to customer expectations and the technology. Online banking definitely brings a better user experience on an everyday basis, it’s really a time saver and generally makes the whole banking experience more enjoyable.
The TV Remote Control
The TV remote control, aka a lot of useless control buttons, is yet another everyday example. How many times have you pressed the wrong button or just searched for the right one or wondered what a certain button does? Too many buttons are making the interface non-intuitive and poor in usability, creating less satisfaction for the user.
Here we have another common one and yes, the struggles with the trash bins are real and often messy. There are many things that can go wrong with a trash bin design — too narrow openings, having to touch the lid to open it up (personal favorite), also for an everyday object that occupies our public space they mostly look plain and unattractive. Wouldn’t it be much nicer if they would decorate our streets besides being functional?
Whatsapp Delete Message Feature
To include a digital example, here is an app that I use daily and yes, the delete message feature is badly designed because it doesn’t do what it says, well not completely. Instead of deleting the message completely and not having anyone to think or see anything about it, the app informs the recipient that the message is in fact deleted. The feature is misleading and can potentially create a suspicious and weird moment in the communication, which is not very pleasant.
The Power of Design
Design has a profound impact on our daily lives. It literally shapes and influences the way we absorb information and thereby create experiences. It not only enhances our physical world but also engages with us emotionally. It helps us navigate through life and encourages exploration and experimentation by viewing things from a different perspective. Finally, it gives us a chance to constantly evolve and better our lives as human beings.