Design Philosophy

Design philosophy is a very personal thing. Just as someone's food preferences, design philosophies vary from person to person. But saying the above, just like food preferences we can draw macro level conclusions about design preferences based on peoples culture, ethnicity, country, society, the period to which they belong, age, economic status and such variables.

When it comes to product design, I try to keep my design criteria following this core philosophy.(Not limited by this) "How easily can my mother use this product?". To give you more insight into this let me cite an example.

My mother does not use any of the hundred things my TV remote can do, she uses only the channel change and volume change buttons. Come to think of it these are the most used buttons by me and many people I know too. One more thing I noticed which people use most is channel flip. There is nothing wrong with the normal tv remotes, they accomplish this job with out much ado. The problem comes when some one wants to go beyond this.
My mom never goes beyond this, and I hate to but am forced to many a times. Think of all the times you refrained from moving channel from one program to another, think of all the times you wanted to block a few channels for children and how difficult it becomes. I hate it, but does someone give me an intelligent choice.

Now I come to the device she uses most, a mobile phone. She uses it for just calling us (me, dad and my bro). If she has to accomplish anything more than that, she is at loss. Even sending a simple SMS is a difficult task.
Is something wrong with her? No, not at all. I haven seen many people including folks from my generation who are not comfortable with SMSing. Similarly the phones these days come with hundreds of features, but tell me how many actually use them. Is it because no body finds a use for them. I don't think so. I attribute it to bad design. Take the case of scheduler on my reliance-lg mobile phone. It simply sucks, though I need a reminder/ scheduler in my phone, I rarely use it because it just sucks. Same is with some of the other features related to browsing RWorld. Not just with Reliance, I have seen many, so called smart phones which suffer from basic usability issues. From some of them, even making simple calls is a difficult task.With so much to accomplish in terms of usability of these simple gadgets, we see that the devices are getting worse and worse. I hope Apple's iPhone will bring some fresh air in this foul world.

Enough of digression, coming back to our original question what is your design philosophy. I hope I have pretty much cleared mine with the above examples. Check out this interesting one from Sramana Mitra

"We discussed Design Philosophy earlier. Recently, I asked around for people’s design philosophies, and here’s one answer that I want to showcase, to kick off this discussion.


I like to keep it simple and pleasing to the eye. A teacher once said to me: “When creating something look at it like a mini skirt. Make it short enough to keep it interesting and long enough to cover everything.”


As she asks, what is yours?