Week 2: Careful Dance between Usability & Aesthetics

Sept 18, 2018

Although Norman's The Design of Every Day Things does explicitly state through out the first chapter that having the necessary VISIBILITY on the object, where "correct" parts are visible to convey the "correct" message, need NOT destroy the aesthetics, Norman published another book Emotional Design, to make an even more clear and explicit statement that things that are well designed and practical can also be beautiful. I can see why people would have a hard time believing Norman's statement. It's because achieving BOTH usability and aesthetics is difficult. But there are still plenty of examples of products that made this happen. The first designer that immediately popped up in my mind was Dieter Rams. Below is Shuffle Magazine's online article on Dieter Rams that I found (the website is also quite beautifully designed - as if to homage the person of topic as well).

There is this careful dance between usability and aesthetics. You want to carefully balance the two to not overpower one another. Personally, I think Dieter Rams achieved this balance.

When creating physical interactions, there is a need to, from time to time, channel our inner designer spirit. Better designs help increase the level of interactivity. The less time the user / audience needs to be explained about HOW a physical device works, the more quickly immersed they can become to maximize the possible level of interactivity from the created project. We may not be able to apply all the "principles" of creating a good design to our designs of physical interactions, but there are definitely lessons to be learned from them.