Great design is everywhere around us, usually in those products, tools, items we take for granted. Why is great design so often overlooked? Easy…it doesn’t get in the way of the user’s experience and impose itself on the users consciousness. It’s simple, requires few (if any) instruction. Think of the Honeywell thermostat – standard in American homes in the last century – simple, easy to use and understand. Nothing more or less than it needed to be. It’s simplicity made it a classic. The Coca-Cola bottle, slipping easily into the hand, textured for grip, an iconic bit of packaging that all other CPG manufacturers envy. A personal favorite, the Swiss Army Knife, the end all be all, a personal disaster recovery plan.
As ergonomists, the ERGOLAB team is constantly kicking the tires of office tools and products. What attributes and accessories make sense…feel right…work properly. Which ones get in the way of our user…detract from their experience (or worse, contribute to injury). In our experience, simple is better. Unfortunately, simple is a hard when your product is meant to support and empower the human body. Our bodies are all so different, we move, shift, lean, tap. We’re tall, short, fat, thin. Some manufacturers do it better than others…candidly, those are the ones we promote. Companies like Humanscale, Workrite, Bodybilt and Contour Design are raising the bar. Go see for yourself. There are some other ‘sexy’ names out there, particularly in seating…don’t get blinded by the gadgets and flash. A $2,000 chair can do as much damage as a folding chair.
By the way….the attached image from DESIGNSPOTTER is what inspired this post. This design is so smart, elegant, a real thing of beauty. A re-usable handle for a throwaway cup, not as sexy as a new Apple product or sports car design, but still WOW.