Thursday, 11 March 2010

Designing for the Whole Picture


Just the other week I noticed a design issue appearing in my work that reminded me of an example a guest lecture, David Townson, told us in the 'Service design in Practice' lecture just a few weeks ago.

He told us of how he had visited Manchester on a horrible wet and gloomy day, everyone had their umbrellas up and as soon as he had reached the fancy hotel he noticed a design that apparently seemed to solve a problem he didn't even know he had. It was a contraption that's allowed him to bag is soaking wet umbrella avoiding any drip-age through the lovely hotel. However this design was not thought through entirely, ok the designer may have solved the so called problem of dripping umbrellas but unfortunately he was going to have to use the umbrella again and there was no available disposal area. The is typical case of a designer trying to hard to design for a problem solving so instead makes an unnecessary point of a problem and doesn't follow it through the whole way.

In the restaurant that I work in I came across an example just like this. We have a red theme in the restaurant, red aprons, red ties and red candles. Usually we would have normal, plain candles in a container lined with red film that allowed the candle to glow red. However this film was apparently too fiddly so the manager (who thought this was a great idea) decided to buy red glass candles instead to 'save' the hassle. However he did not think until the problem came about that these candles would eventually need disposed of once used and unfortunately there is only clear, brown and green glass disposal bins! Now we have a lovely collection of used red candle glasses.

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