Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe. Follow @RianVDM
Design wants more from us than just solving problems
Matthew Butterick recently did a TYPO Talk in Berlin that completely blew me away. In Reversing the Tide of Declining Expectations he discusses how we have come to expect way too little from design, with the consequence that most design on the web is complete crap:
And that’s really what I mean tonight by declining expectations. This idea of what happens when we defer to technology, instead of standing on its shoulders. What happens when we choose convenience over quality. Eventually, w’re going to forget what quality was like.
One of the most interesting parts in Matthew’s talk is where he challenges the conventional wisdom that design is about solving problems. He believes that “solving problems is the lowest form of design” — here’s why:
Because what does design want from us, as designers? Does it only want a solved problem? I think it wants more. I think it wants us to take these items that are sort of mundane or boring on their own—like an annual report, or a website shopping cart, or a business card—and it wants us to fill them up. Fill them with ideas, and emotions, and humor, and warmth. Really everything that’s in our hearts and minds. Design wants us to invest these items with our humanity. And the problem that we’re solving—that’s really just the context where that happens.
I don’t want to quote from the talk too much, because you really have to experience the whole thing — it is such a great reminder to have the courage to create better things.
(transcript link via @jbrewer)