The first secret of great design

Why do we get used to everyday things?
Well as human beings, we have limited brain power. contrary of personal developpement theories and Morgan Freeman, the famous actor , speech in Lucy movie !
And so our brains encode the  everyday things we do into habits, so we can free up space
to learn new things.
It’s a process called habituation, and it’s one of the most basic ways, as humans, we learn.
Now, habituation isn’t always bad. Do you remember learning to drive? Your hands clenched at 10 and 2 on the wheel, looking at every single object out there: the cars, the lights, the pedestrians.
It’s a nerve-wracking experience.
So much so, that you couldn’t even talk to anyone else in the car nor  even listen to music.
But then something interesting happened. As the weeks went by, driving became easier and easier. You habituated it and It started to become  fun and second nature.
So there’s a good reason why our brains habituate things. If we didn’t, we’d notice every little detail, all the time!
It would be exhausting, and we’d have no time to learn about new things.
But sometimes, habituation isn’t good,if it stops us from noticing  the problems that are around us, and if it stops us from noticing  and fixing those problems,

But designers, innovators  and entrepreneurs, it’s their job to not just notice
those things, but to go one step further and try to fix them.

Let take the example of Mary Anderson:

windshield wiper

In 1902 in New York City, she was visiting. It was a cold, wet, snowy day and she was warm inside a streetcar.
As she was going to her destination, she noticed the driver opening the window
to clean off the excess snow so he could drive safely.
When he opened the window, though, he let all this cold, wet air inside,
making all the passengers miserable. Now probably, most of those  passengers just thought, “It’s a fact of life, he’s got to open the window to clean it. That’s just how it is.”
But Mary didn’t. Mary thought, “What if the diver could actually clean
the windshield from the inside so that he could stay safe and drive and the passengers could  actually stay warm?”
So she picked up her sketchbook right then and there,
and began drawing what would become the world’s first windshield wiper.

Tony Fadell

The man behind the iPod and the Nest thermostat, Tony Fadell, said in one of his talks:

“Now as a product designer, I try to learn from people like Mary to try to see the world
the way it really is, not the way we think it is.
Why?
Because it’s easy to solve a problem that almost everyone sees. But it’s hard to solve a problem that almost no one sees.
Now some people think you’re born with this ability or you’re not, as if Mary Anderson was hardwired at birth to see the world more clearly. That wasn’t the case for me. I had to work at it.
During my years at Apple, Steve Jobs challenged us to come into work every day,
to see our products through  the eyes of the customer, the new customer, the one that has fears and possible frustrations and hopeful exhilaration that their new technology product could work straightaway for them He called it staying beginners, and wanted to make sure that we focused on those tiny little details, to make them faster, easier and seamless for the new customers.
So I remember this clearly in the very earliest days of the iPod. See, back in the ’90s, being a gadget freak like I am, I would rush out to the store for the very, very latest gadget.
I’d take all the time to get to the store,
I’d check out, I’d come back home,
I’d start to unbox it.
And then, there was  another little sticker: the one that said, “Charge before use.”
What! I can’t believe it!
I just spent all this time buying this product and now I have to charge before use.
I have to wait what felt like an eternity to use that coveted new toy.
It was crazy.
But you know what?
Almost every product back then did that. When it had batteries in it, you had to charge it before you used it.
Well, Steve noticed that and he said, “We’re not going to let that  happen to our product.”
So what did we do?
Typically, when you have a product that has a hard drive in it, you run it for about
30 minutes in the factory to make sure that hard drive’s going  to be working years later
for the customer after they  pull it out of the box.

What did we do instead?
We ran that product for over two hours.
Why?
Well, first off, we could make a higher quality product, be easy to test, and make sure it was great for the customer. But most importantly, the battery came fully charged
right out of the box, ready to use.
So that customer,  with all that exhilaration, could just start using the product. It was great, and it worked. People liked it.
Today, almost every product that you get that’s battery powered comes out of the box fully charged, even if it doesn’t have a hard drive. But back then, we noticed
that detail and we fixed it, and now everyone else does that as well.
No more, “Charge before use.”

It’s seeing the invisible problem,No more, “Charge before use.”

why telling this?
Well, it’s seeing the invisible problem, not just the obvious problem, that’s important, not just for product design, but for everything we do.
You see, there are invisible problems all around us, ones we can solve. But first we need
to see them, to feel them.
So, here are few tips about neuroscience or psychology that I do that we all can do,
to fight habituation.

  • My first tip is to look broader.

You see, when you’re tackling a problem, sometimes, there are a lot of steps
that lead up to that problem. And sometimes, a lot  of steps after it.
If you can take a step back and look broader, maybe you can change some of those boxes before the problem.
Maybe you can combine them.
Maybe you can remove them altogether
to make that better.
Take thermostats, for instance. In the 1900s when they first came out,
they were really simple to use. You could turn them up or turn them down.
People understood them. But in the 1970s, the energy crisis struck, and customers started thinking about how to save energy.
So what happened?
Thermostat designers decided  to add a new step,instead of just turning up and down, you now had to program it. So you could tell it the temperature you wanted at a certain time.
Now that seemed great!
Every thermostat had started adding that feature.
But it turned out that no one saved any energy. Now, why is that?
Well, people couldn’t predict the future.
They just didn’t know how their weeks would change season to season, year to year. So no one was saving energy, and what happened?
Thermostat designers went back to the drawing board and they focused on that programming step. They made better U.I.s, they made better documentation.
But still, years later, people were not saving any energy because they just couldn’t predict the future. So what did we do?
We put a machine-learning algorithm in instead of the programming that would simply watch when you turned it up and down, when you liked a certain temperature
when you got up, or when you went away.

And you know what? It worked.
People are saving energy  without any programming. So, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. If you take a step back  and look at all the boxes, maybe there’s a way
to remove one or combine them, so that you can make  that process much simpler.

  • For my second tip, it’s to look closer.

One of my greatest teachers was my grandfather.He taught me all about the world.

I remember one story he told me about screws, and about how you need to have the right screw for the right job. There are many different screws:

wood screws, metal screws, anchors, concrete screws, the list went on and on. Our job is to make products that are easy to install for all of our customs themselves without professionals. So what did we do? and so we thought, “How many different screws  can we put in the box?
Was it going to be two, three,four, five?
Because there’s so many different wall types.” So we thought about it, we optimized it, and we came up with three different
screws to put in the box. We thought that was going to solve the problem. But it turned out, it didn’t. So we shipped the product, and people weren’t having
a great experience. So what did we do?
We went back to the drawing board
just instantly after we figured out we didn’t get it right. And we designed a special screw, a custom screw, much to the chagrin of our investors. They were like, “Why are you spending so much time on a little screw?
Get out there and sell more!”
And we said, “We will sell more if we get this right.” And it turned out, we did. With that custom little screw,
there was just one screw in the box, that was easy to mount and put on the wall. So if we focus on those tiny details, the ones we may not see and we look at them as we say, “Are those important or is that the way we’ve always done it?
Maybe there’s a way to get rid of those.”

  • So my last piece of advice is to think younger.

Every day, I’m confronted with interesting questions from my three young kids. They come up with questions like,
“Why can’t cars fly around traffic?”
Or, “Why don’t my shoelaces have Velcro instead?” Sometimes, those questions are smart. My son came to me the other day
and I asked him, “Go run out to the mailbox
and check it.” He looked at me, puzzled, and said, “Why doesn’t the mailbox just check itself and tell us when it has mail?” (Laughter)I was like, “That’s a pretty  good question.”
So, they can ask tons of questions and sometimes we find out we just don’t have the right answers.
We say, “Son, that’s just the way the world works.” So the more we’re exposed to something, the more we get used to it. But kids haven’t been around
long enough to get used to those things. And so when they run into problems, they immediately try to solve them, and sometimes they find a better way, and that way really is better.
So my advice that we take to heart is to have young people on your team, or people with young minds. Because if you have those young minds, they cause everyone in the room
to think younger.
Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is when he or she grows up,
is how to remain an artist.”

Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is when he or she grows up,
is how to remain an artist.”

We all saw the world more clearly when we saw it for the first time, before a lifetime of habits  got in the way. Our challenge is to get back there, to feel that frustration, to see those little details, to look broader,
look closer,

and to think younger

So we can stay beginners. It’s not easy.It requires us pushing back against one of the most basic ways we make sense of the world.
But if we do, we could do some pretty amazing things.
For me, hopefully, that’s better product design. For you, that could mean something else, something powerful.
Our challenge is to wake up  each day and say, “How can I experience the world better?””

Designer useful softwares

There are lot of softwares used by designers:

  • Corel draw x8: developped by corel corporation which’s a canadien corporation, and defined by the developper as  a must-have version for any designer from beginner to pro.  It’s a very intersting software that covers many domains with a good price (the price is compared with other softwares like Catia) To learn more access to Corel website.
  • Autocad,Fusion 360, Revit, Maya and others: Autodesk corporation has a wide range of design softwares for differents domains: art, industry, building, architecture , etc… . To learn more access to Autodesk website.


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