Tag Archive for Evolutionary Design

Stress Response

Terri the relentless tortoise

Stress is an actor in all our lives. As we grow up, our stress grows too. We perceive that stress as a sign that we are coping with more than our historical share. Every generation believes that their stress surpasses that of the generation before. So it is probably just an illusion — or delusion. What’s most important is how we cope with stress. Not all stress coping mechanisms are learned. Some are probably encoded — they come for free with our genetics. It can be easier to see these mechanisms in action by observing animals — particularly pets, whose behaviors we know intimately. Take, for example, two very different species that we have had as pets over the years — Terri the tortoise and Kushy the ferret. Terri comes from an ancient lineage of chelonians (Greek word for tortoise), who have walked and swam upon the Earth for hundreds of millions of years. Kushy the ferret is of the Mustelidae family — weasels and skunks. Kushy was a descendant of a domesticated breed of ferrets that first became pets about four thousand years ago. We bought Kushy at a pet store; Terri was a rescue. Terri’s natural habitat is…

Space-Time Changes in Cultural Variables

Some designs are timeless, some are dated. TV shows, movies, books, and even Web sites change as both technologies driving the medium change and as our sensibilities as consumers alter in time. Cultural shock is easy to spot as we move globe trot, searching for new experiences. But cultural shock is just as easy to get at home, watching old commercials and movies. As product designers, we want to find those attributes that will stand the course of time and space. The need for innovation and push to grab the most number of users makes evolutionary design less and less appealing. But it’s the “hammers” of the world that retain their value long after the newest fads have come and gone. A product that is build as an answer to a specific, human need, stands the test of space-time utility.