What is TechStyles? It’s a gadget site, so yes, there will be plasma and LCD TVs, home theatre, digital cameras, iPods, computers, mobile phones, home appliances… all of this and all of the attendant accessories. Plus there’ll be looks at toys, movies, and all the weird and wonderful things that can fall under the umbrella of ‘tech’.
TechStyles will have news stories, articles, reviews and ‘first looks’. But it will also be something a departure from your ‘regular’ gadget site, with a focus on the design chain of the manufacturing process. More and more companies are keenly looking to industrial design to make their products objects of desire, not only because they’re new, but because of their how good they look. And design of course doesn’t stop at the materials, boxes, curves and straight lines. It goes to the interface, making the devices work well, easily and intuitively.
Getting all of this right, is not easy. Donald A. Norman gets to the heart of all the points of conflict and friction from design to purchase in his book ‘The Design of Everyday Things’:
Designing well is not easy. The manufacturer wants something that can be produced economically. The store wants something that will be attractive to its customers. The purchaser has several demands. In the store, the purchaser focuses on price and appearance, and perhaps on prestige value. At home, the same person will pay more attention to functionality and usability. The repair service cares about maintainability: how easy is the device to take apart, diagnose, and service. The needs of those concerned are different and often conflict. Nonetheless, the designer may be able to satisfy everyone.
‘May‘ be able to satisfy everyone. What Norman alludes to is that there are a huge number of considerations when designing a product. Designers don’t work in a vacuum. There are teams to manage, market research to be conducted, and management and shareholders to satisfy. And at a purchasing level, it’s often not a single purchaser, family needs come into play, as does gender and age. It’s little wonder that the designer faces a hell of a a job to get things right!
So, TechStyles. A look at gadgets, with a design eye. Read, comment and share the content, and look out for me on places like Twitter and Facebook.