This week’s selection is “Designing Pleasurable Products: An Introduction to the New Human Factors” by Patrick W. Jordan.
Product design is a great deal more complex than some may suspect. After all, many products we use seem very sensible and are quite functional.
However, what you don’t see is the considerable effort behind the scenes to create that design. It’s far more than simply putting the mechanical or electronic bits together and saying “it works!”
A design can “work” but not be a good design. The key is to integrate what’s known as “human factors” into the design so that human operators will naturally understand and resonate with the device when using it.
That would seem sensible, but how does one do this? How do you systematically incorporate these human factors into a design?
That’s what this book is all about: it defines a process for adapting a design to be far more friendly, and indeed, “pleasurable”.
The book’s contention is that there is a hierarchy of human factor integration, much like Maslow’s famous hierarchy of human needs. The design hierarchy is as follows:
- Functionality — it works, but that’s all
- Usability — it is easy to use
- Pleasure — it is fun to use
See the difference? Consider machines and systems you’ve personally used: which level do they fall into?
The book points out the process for achieving “pleasure” in a design, and it’s all about relationships to human factors of one kind or another. It even goes as far as to define metrics for measuring and assessing the product’s pleasurability.
Those of us using 3D printers to produce products could very well make use of these concepts. Often our designs are simplistic and fall into the first category: they work, and that’s all. Then we wonder why few buy them, or rather, why few general consumers buy them after initial interest from enthusiasts. The reason is that the design isn’t right.
This book can help get your design to the right place.
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