Monday, February 9, 2009

The Tyranny of Design

Style vs. substance . . . form vs. function. As a customer, I want both. However, the ascendancy of design has put functionality on the back burner in too many cases. A couple of years ago, the Design Observer blog posted "What If Apple Is Bad for Design?" One of the complaints, which I don't necessarily agree with but I do find intriguing:

"But the problem with Apple may be that a software approach is being applied to the design of hardware: a seemingly economical application of default settings that progressively dissolves the integrity of each individual application of that setting or solution; and a paradoxical willingness to patch together case-by-case solutions that compromise the integrity of the overall composition in the interest of localized utility."

It's easy to find examples of web sites where design trumps function. Here's an entire list. Looks like the designers forgot that readability is important; also ignored the need to make navigation intuitive and easy. Which brings me to my last rant: DVD menus where the animation takes forever to settle down enough to figure out which word or clever object to click to start the movie or choose a scene. Design is good, too much is just too clever, IMHO.

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