Changing Design Can Design Change

22 09 2008

Throughout our studio project and this class it is really interesting to think about the concept of anthropometrics and using this to help you in your designs. Then I wonder, is there such thing as the perfect design that would work and fit for every user? Even the simple things such as scissors are made for right-handed users. So are cameras, cars, computer mice and the list goes on and on. Since I am right handed I am nowhere near complaining, it is just intriguing to think about design and how tailored it is for the “average”. Imagine living in this world and being at the very top or the very bottom of the human size bell curve. Designs just aren’t meant for people who are incredibly tall or incredibly short.

So, how can a designer change their design to improve the quality of life for everyone? Is there a solution? I feel this is already a question that many designers struggle to answer. I guess you just have to make everything adjustable. When chairs are adjustable each person can personalize it to how they wish to sit in the chair. There are always new ways as well to make it easier to adjust. Use powered controls comparable to ones in cars making it not such a hassle to be comfortable. The downside of this of course is cost. Many users will opt for a cost effective solution rather than a pricey one. So how do we make a cost effective adjustable object? Something I am sure I will learn in time. For now, I am looking forward to seeing the bell curve of our class’s heights.

The question asked in class, “Can design incur change?” Of course it can. A great example is the hype about not plastic bags. Someone somewhere figured out that if you are going to get people to reuse plastic bags or use other bags then you are going to have to give people the correct bags; thus, the grocery tote bag which you can find everywhere now, including the University of Manitoba bookstore was introduced. Such a product has been around for a long time, but someone decided it was time to put a bunch of green words on the bag and sell them for a dollar and now, the usage of plastic bags has most definitely decreased with many stores actually banning the use of plastic bags. So the cloth grocery bag, a very simple design, has no doubt incurred change. What design will change the world next?

– Kayla S.

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