Tag Archive for context

Fun, Functionality, Flow: the 3 F’s of Product Design

Good product design—design that solves a real need; design that considers the strengths and weaknesses of the user; design that stands the test of time and cultural fads—always incorporates the the 3 F’s: Fun, Functionality, and Flow. It’s easy to talk about the 3 F’s in abstract, but I thought taking a concrete example of a bicycle would be more productive. A bicycle is a designed object that satisfies a real need, does so in way that brings joy to its users, and the act of riding results in flow experience for many. The old “Liberator” poster tries to communicate all 3 F’s to the potential buyers of its products: liberator means freedom to move, real functionality; the woman warrior communicates power and fun—you will feel the way she looks! It’s exhilarating! Notice the high heels and the beautiful vista (with a rough terrain) and a kid pointing at the riders with envy. These posters, old advertising ads for bicycles, try to communicate the same: it’s fun, functional, and exciting to ride a bike. Ride, and look good. Ride, and be the center of attention. Design for Fun So what makes a particular design fun? It seems that one of…

Media and Fun

I’ve posted a video on this blog: “Because Product Should Be Fun!” The point is that design should create an emotional reaction in its audience. Here’s a collection of bus wrappings that have a strong emotional component, go amygdala! For another example of emotional design in packaging, please check out these blogs: “Emotional Design” and “Creative Use of Media to Advance a Message” for more bus fun.

Good Idea, Bad Idea

In the spirit of Animaniacs’ “Bad Idea, Good Idea,” enjoy the following product ideas. And for those who’ve never heard of Animaniacs, please watch the short segment (you can see more on YouTube!). Need a bit of assist in your bedroom? Add springs for the extra bounce. Find yourself in need of a sure grip? Make room for fingers. Short on space? Don’t waste the cupboards under each stair. Need more animation in the morning? Use the light. Bored with tea? Get a personal assistant. Worried about your waistline? Get measured. Live to serve? Bump it up. Too sure-footed? Make every climb a challenge. Too close? Give your photos some distance. Product design is limited only by imagination. A Short Introduction to Animaniacs’ “Bad Idea, Good Idea”

Demonstration of Wealth

People have been flashing “bling” around since the cave days. But what we perceive as “bling” has changed dramatically over the years and over cultures. We are social animals, we put a lot of value in our place in the social hierarchy of the group. By demonstrating wealth, we are advertising our social status in the community. Body Image How can you tell how much influence a cave man had in his group? Well, one was probably the way he looked: body paint, tattoos, scarification, body modification, hairdos, teeth filings, nail beautification, and accessories. And while somethings were transitory—beads are easily lost in battle, nails broken during a hunt—some are permanent status symbols. When all you owe is carried on you, then permanent modifications is a good solution to broadcasting your importance and achievements to the group. Each scar carries meaning and is much easier to show off than notches on the bed post. But body modifications is a very painful bling. Products Once the society is a bit more stable, stuff becames a preferred way of social display. Jewelry can be worn, homes can be owned, cars can be seen—there are many ways to show off wealth in the…

Attention Control Errors & Perceptual Blindness

Harvard Vision Lab created a few experiments that feature Attention Controls Errors and Perceptual Blindness. Below is one of their optical illusions. Directions: concentrate on the central white dot. Did the colors of the outside dots continue to shift throughout the video? If they stopped when the dots were rotating, then you’ve just experienced Silencing—the lab’s vocabulary for individual’s inability to pay attention to both motion and color shift at the same time. Here, we mostly call it Perceptual Blindness. My Personal Experience with this Illusion: The first time I watched the video, I think the colors stopped shifting…but I don’t really remember—I wasn’t paying attention! The second time, I saw the shift. When I showed the illusion to a colorblind individual, he saw the shift from the first viewing. To read about the complete experiment and to view more illusion videos, please visit the lab: http://visionlab.harvard.edu/silencing/

Knowledge, Context, and Expectation Part II

I first came across this image years ago in our pediatrician’s office. It made everyone who saw it laugh. The young boy—less than a year old, probably—has very limited world experience. But somethings he knows well—food comes out of those! The boy recognized the imagery, but with his limited background knowledge of art and contextual experience, his expectations of milk were quickly dashed (to the complete amusement of his mother). While we enjoy the boy’s predicament, it is good to keep in mind that the products we create can put our users at a disadvantage. The product’s audience can similarly have limited background knowledge, misinterpret the context, and be left with unexpected consequences. And a loving mother might not be there to console them…