Gutes Design ist langlebig und nachhaltig

Die PAGE fragt aktuell Was ist gutes Design heute? und hinterfragt damit auch Dieter Rams’ These nach der gutes Design langlebig zu sein hat. Dazu durfte ich mich wie folgt äußern_

Bei der Gestaltung für rein digitale Medien ist es relativ unerheblich, ob man die Produkte in kurzen Zyklen erneuert und dabei Altes wegwirft. Es sind nur bunte Pixel und Licht. Ver­schwendet wird dabei nur die Arbeitszeit des Designers und die der Webentwickler. Gestaltet man zum Beispiel den Auftritt für eine Konferenz, will man kurzfristig Aufmerksamkeit erzeugen. Bei einer Cutting-Edge-Konferenz mit innovativen Themen, darf man mit dem Design sogar irritieren und die aller neusten Design-Trends benutzen und übertreiben – in dem Kontext macht Langlebigkeit keinen Sinn. Danach hat die Site ihren Nutzen erfüllt und wird bis zur nächsten Auflage der Konferenz unwichtig. Falls man allerdings zusätzlich einen nachhaltigen Effekt erzielen möchte – Stichwort Community Building oder Branding, sollte man in der Zwischenzeit die Site nicht stiefmütterlich behandeln, sondern hier die Vorträge in Form von Slides oder Videos anbieten.

Visual Design war gestern skeuomorph, dann »flat« und nun »material«. Folgt man jeweils den neuesten Design-Trends, bleibt leider oft der Nutzer dabei auf der Strecke, da er beispielsweise nicht mehr erkennen kann, ob es sich um einen aktiven Button handelt oder um statischen Text. Die Gestaltungsregeln und -prinzipien für interaktives Design sind in jedem Fall wichtiger und langlebiger als Modetrends an der Oberfläche.

Zapft man allerdings für die Produktherstellung Ressourcen der Erde an, indem man zum Beispiel Seltene Erden und Metalle wie Coltan und Kobalt aus China in Smartphones verbaut, bekommt Langlebigkeit im Design einen anderen Stellenwert. Ist das Telefon zu trendy und nach kurzer Zeit unmo­dern, wirft der Verbraucher das ganze Produkt auf den Müll, mitsamt den kostbaren Ressourcen. Da wird es schon dramatischer. Das Design der Hardware muss nachhaltig sein. Ein tolles Beispiel für langlebiges Design ist das Regal­system 606 von Vitsœ, das Dieter Rams 1960 entworfen hat. Seinen zehn Gestaltungsprinzipien entsprechend stellt die Firma ausschließlich langlebige Möbel her, mit dem Ziel: Es besser zu machen statt neuer.

Diesen Aspekt müssen wir Designer künftig mehr bedenken, denn rein digitale Anwendungen, die früher unter den Glasscheiben der Displays lagen, werden mit dem Internet of Things oder Tangible Interfaces zunehmend haptischer und materialorientierter. Das, was Industriedesigner schon lange wissen, war bisher im Screen-Design irrelevant. Nun müssen wir uns zugunsten der Nachhaltigkeit mit Langlebigkeit beschäftigen. [erschienen, leicht gekürzt, in PAGE 10.16]

Matthias Müller-Prove

Nachhaltigkeit wird auch fürs Screendesign relevant. –Matthias Müller-Prove

UX vs UX Design

Don Norma[n/l] – who introduced the term user experience into our digital design world – says what UX actually used to mean – and what the term UX still should be used for_

From my point of view, in order to keep things straight, UX is psychology. It is the perception, the cognition, the emotions, the reactions and actions of a human being before, while and after she is using a product, service or system.

On the other hand, Usability is a property of a product in a specific context for specific users. It consists of the independent dimensions effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. These factors can be measured and improved.

UX Design is a holistic design approach to improve the people’s UX while interacting with products, services and systems – before the purchase or sign up, during the use, and after the usage to consider if they want to sign up for an extended subscription or buy another product of the brand. People’s UX can be improved by means of improving the usability of the product, and by improving the way people interact with the service or system. This should be the job of UX designers or interaction designers or service designers. Congratulations if you have someone like that in your team.

I doubt that we will ever have robust computer-2-brain systems. Until then, UX stays subjective. Therefore, I am glad that I’ve found this picture to illustrate exactly this_

gopro_happyhorror_800 UX is subjective. (frame from a GoPro commercial)

Do you realize the difference? UX designers do not design the user experience. They design products, systems and services in order to create a better UX on the user’s end.

à propos

Apple does not do Design Thinking

A quick comparison between Design Thinking Principles and Apple reveals…

Design Thinking Apple
Fail early and often …but just internally.
Leave titles at the door Do not come in if you do not contribute to the meeting.
There are no good ideas Either it sucks or it is insanely great.
Do! Don’t talk.
Build on ideas of others Yes, but turn them into something insanely great.
The quantity is it. The quality is it.
Avoid criticism. “This is shit”
Stay focussed. Stay hungry.
Dare to be wild! Stay foolish.
Think human centered. Think details oriented.
Be visual.
Let’s have Fun. Never take the same elevator with Steve. You do not have a job anymore.

q.e.d. Apple does not do Design Thinking. Nonetheless, Apple products are still best of breed.

à propos

Sound Design und Design Thinking



Und gleich noch ein weiterer Mitschnitt im uxHH Radio:  Hans Schüttler berichtete im Januar als Gast bei DT_HH aus seinem Beruf als Musiker und Sound-Designer.

Diesem Event habt Ihr den Impuls zu verdanken, dass das uxHH Radio nun auch mit einem Intro und Outro gesendet wird. Die Tropfen zu Beginn stammen aus One Drop von Helge Krabye. Das Outro ist mit IL Est Parti von Eric Wenger unterlegt.

Aber nun zum Podcast (1:47′)

Dieter Rams im uxHH Radio


Dieter Rams

Dieter Rams war vor einiger Zeit zu Gast im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg. Klaus Klemp moderierte die Veranstaltung an der außer Dieter Rams noch “seine Schüler” Olaf Barski und Andreas Hackbarth teil genommen haben. Sie diskutierten über die Voraussetzungen einer guten Design-Ausbildung, über die große Bedeutung der Anwendungsqualität neuer Produkte und den Mangel an Unternehmerpersönlichkeiten, die bereit seien, in die fundierte Entwicklung von Design zu investieren.

Ich möchte keine Beschwerden zu der Soundqualität hören – die Originalaufzeichnung war dank der Akustik im Saal kaum zu verstehen. Hier nun die spannenden 74 Minuten.

Sir Jonathan Ive

// Interview by Mark Prigg with Jonathan Ive, 12-Mar 2012, London Evening Standard

Sir Jonathan Ive, Jony to his friends, is arguably one of the world‘s most influential Londoners. The 45-year-old was born in Chingford — and went to the same school as David Beckham. He met his wife, Heather Pegg, while in secondary school. They married in 1987, have twin sons and now live in San Francisco. As Apple‘s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, he is the driving force behind the firm‘s products, from the Mac computer to the iPod, iPhone and, most recently the iPad. He spoke exclusively to the Evening Standard at the firm‘s Cupertino headquarters.

Q: You recently received a Knighthood for services to design – was that a proud moment?

A: I was absolutely thrilled, and at the same time completely humbled. I am very aware that I‘m the product of growing up in England, and the tradition of designing and making, of England industrialising first. The emphasis and value on ideas and original thinking is an innate part of British culture, and in many ways, that describes the traditions of design.

Is London still an important city for design?

I left London in 1992, but I‘m there 3-4 times a year, and love visiting. It‘s a very important city, and makes a significant contribution to design, to creating something new where previously something didn‘t exist.

How does London differ from Silicon Valley?

The proximity of different creative industries and London is remarkable, and is in many ways unique. I think that has led to a very different feel to Silicon Valley.

Why did you decide to move to California?

What I enjoy about being here is there is a remarkable optimism, and an attitude to try out and explore ideas without the fear of failure. There is a very simple and practical sense that a couple of people have an idea and decide to form a company to do it. I like that very practical and straightforward approach. There‘s not a sense of looking to generate money, its about having an idea and doing it – I think that characterises this area and its focus.

What makes design different at Apple?

We struggle with the right words to describe the design process at† Apple, but it is very much about designing and prototyping and making. When you separate those, I think the final result suffers. If something is going to be better, it is new, and if it‘s new you are confronting problems and challenges you don‘t have references for. To solve and address those requires a remarkable focus. There‘s a sense of being inquisitive and optimistic, and you don‘t see those in combination very often.

How does a new product come about at Apple?

What I love about the creative process, and this may sound naive, but it is this idea that one day there is no idea, and no solution, but then the next day there is an idea. I find that incredibly exciting and conceptually actually remarkable. The nature of having ideas and creativity is incredibly inspiring. There is an idea which is solitary, fragile and tentative and doesn‘t have form. What we‘ve found here is that it then becomes a conversation, although remains very fragile. When you see the most dramatic shift is when you transition from an abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation. But when you made a 3D model, however crude, you bring form to a nebulous idea, and everything changes – the entire process shifts. It galvanises and brings focus from a broad group of people. It‘s a remarkable process.

What makes a great designer?

It is so important to be light on your feet, inquisitive and interested in being wrong. You have that† wonderful fascination with the what if questions, but you also need absolute focus and a keen insight into the context and what is important – that is really terribly important. Its about contradictions you have to navigate.

What are your goals when setting out to build a new product?

Our goals are very simple – to design and make better products. If we can‘t make something that is better, we won‘t do it.

Why has Apple‘s competition struggled to do that?

That’s quite unusual, most of our competitors are interesting in doing something different, or want to appear new – I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that‘s what drives us – a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better. Committees just don‘t work, and it‘s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different – they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.

When did you first become aware of the importance of designers?

First time I was aware of this sense of the group of people who made something was when I first used a Mac – I‘d gone through college in the 80s using a computer and had a horrid experience. Then I discovered the mac, it was such a dramatic moment and I remember it so clearly – there was a real sense of the people who made it.

When you are coming up with product ideas such as the iPod, do you try to solve a problem?

There are different approaches – sometimes things can irritate you so you become aware of a problem, which is a very pragmatic approach and the least challenging. What is more difficult is when you are intrigued by an opportunity. That, I think, really exercises the skills of a designer. It‘s not a problem you‘re aware or, nobody has articulated a need. But you start asking questions, what if we do this, combine it with that, would that be useful? This creates opportunities that could replace entire categories of device, rather than tactically responding to an individual problem. That‘s the real challenge, and that‘s what is exciting.

Has that led to new products within Apple?

Examples are products like the iPhone, iPod and iPad. That fanatical attention to detail and coming across a problem and being determined to solve it is critically important – that defines your minute by minute, day by day experience.

How to you know consumers will want your products?

We don‘t do focus groups – that is the job of the designer. It‘s unfair to ask people who don‘t have a sense of the opportunities of tomorrow from the context of today to design.

Your team of designers is very small – is that the key to its success?

The way we work at Apple is that the complexity of these products really makes it critical to work collaboratively, with different areas of expertise. I think that‘s one of the things about my job I enjoy the most. I work with silicon designers, electronic and mechanical engineers, and I think you would struggle to determine who does what when we get together. We‘re located together, we share the same goal, have exactly the same preoccupation with making great products. One of the other things that enables this is that we‘ve been doing this together for many years – there is a collective confidence when you are facing a seemingly insurmoutable challenge, and there were multiple times on the iPhone or ipad where we have to think ëwill this work‘ we simply didn‘t have points of reference.

Is it easy to get sidetracked by tiny details on a project?

When you‘re trying to solve a problem on a new product type, you become completely focused on problems that seem a number of steps removed from the main product. That problem solving can appear a little abstract, and it is easy to lose sight of the product. I think that is where having years and years of experience gives you that confidence that if you keep pushing, you‘ll get there.

Can this obsession with detail get out of control?

It‘s incredibly time consuming, you can spent months and months and months on a tiny detail – but unless you solve that tiny problem, you can‘t solve this other, fundamental product.
You often feel there is no sense these can be solved, but you have faith. This is why these innovations are so hard – there are no points of reference.

How do you know you‘ve succeeded?

It‘s a very strange thing for a designer to say, but one of the things that really irritates me in products is when I‘m aware of designers wagging their tails in my face. Our goal is simple objects, objects that you can‘t imagine any other way. Simplicity is not the absence of clutter. Get it right, and you become closer and more focused on the object. For instance, the iPhoto app we created for the new iPad, it completely consumes you and you forget you are using an iPad.

What are the biggest challenges in constantly innovating?

For as long as we‘ve been doing this, I am still surprised how difficult it is to do this, but you know exactly when you‘re there – it can be the smallest shift, and suddenly transforms the object, without any contrivance. Some of the problem solving in the iPad is really quite remarkable, there is this danger you want to communicate this to people. I think that is a fantastic irony, how oblivious people are to the acrobatics we‘ve performed to solve a problem – but that‘s our job, and I think people know there is tremendous care behind the finished product.

Do consumers really care about good design?

One of the things we‘ve really learnt over the last 20 years is that while people would often struggle to articulate why they like something – as consumers we are incredibly discerning, we sense where has been great care in the design, and when there is cynicism and greed. It‘s one of the thing we‘ve found really encouraging.

Users have become incredibly attached, almost obsessively so, to Apple‘s products – why is this?

It sound so obvious, but I remember being shocked to use a Mac, and somehow have this sense I was having a keen awareness of the people and values of those who made it. I think that people‘s emotional connection to our products is that they sense our care, and the amount of work that has gone into creating it.

[Sir Jonathan Ive: The iMan cometh. Interview by Mark Prigg for the London Evening Standard, 12-Mar-2012]

á propos:

The Shape Of Things To Come by Ian Parker, The New Yorker, Feb 2015