My wife says to me when we have bought some new gadget, ‘Where’s the instruction manual?’ and I say to her ‘Pet (because that’s how we talk around our way), if you need an instruction manual then you shouldn’t have bought it.’ What I mean is that a product these days should just work. It should be intuitive and you shouldn’t have to faff about reading how to get it to do stuff. When you take it out of the packaging it should be absolutely obvious where the on-button is and what you need to do to get it to do the very thing you bought it for.
When we talk about design we tend to think about whether or not something looks pretty or stylish but this is only part of the story. When you buy a television these days, you switch it on and it tells you how to set it up. That, to me, is good design. Things shouldn’t just look attractive they should work attractive as well.
All businesses should have well designed products. That’s fine but I don’t make things. I don’t have a production line with raw materials coming in at one end and beautiful finished product appearing at the other. I work in a service industry and we have demands and issues and requirements coming in through our front door and (hopefully) solutions and resolutions and outputs going out.
Like in a manufacturing outfit though we have processes that we follow and we often talk about BPR or business process reengineering. But that presupposes that our processes were engineered in the first place, properly planned, blueprinted, ground down to the micron and fully tested. It is highly likely that instead they were thrown together in a ‘that will do’ kind of way and that the process we use is the first one that came into our heads.
What I’m going to do instead is to think about how we can design our processes so that they work better. How can I get a process to look beautiful? What difference would a designer add to or take away from the process? How can I make the process aesthetically appealing to the user?
I’ll start with the top ten and get my web and graphics people involved and see if they rise to the challenge. We’re going to make some processes that work intuitively out of the box, that look attractive and work attractive.