The Design of Everyday Things

Have you ever pondered why a door handle is designed the way it is or why a tea pot look the way it looks? Quite mundane objects that we don’t really spend any further thought on and take for granted that they work the way we expect them to.

The same could be argued for any piece of software, from the UI to the result after a user’s input, yet designers, developers, user experience professionals and even users often fail to see the forest for the trees and then you feel like using this teapot when e.g. using Tableau:

I would highly suggest the developers of Tableau to read this book and maybe learn a lesson or two and not put up a workaround on how to create a doughnut chart with their very powerful visualization tool but rather offer a one click solution for their users. There are a multitude of other abhorrent inadequacies in the UI and feature rich/lessness of an admittedly powerful enterprise level visualization tool such as Tableau and after 3 years of using both PowerBI and Tableau, I still prefer PowerBI simply because I feel more listened to by its Product Advocates whereas Tableau mostly ignores customer input and ideas gather dust on their community hub without any traction whatsoever. Software as an end to end service is real. Tableau may be on top today (arguably) but things can change in a heartbeat, esp. if you think you can ignore your user base.

I have no ties to either tool and this does not aim to recommend one over the other as both have their merits and downsides but from a mere UX point of view PowerBI wins hands down.

This is why the design of every day things, like door knobs, faucets or the software you are using daily to do your job are incredibly important to get right to the stroke of a t and the dot of an i. Anything less won’t do.

Why do I bring this up here? Well, it’s the same with everything you create, be it a house, a car, a painting, a piece of writing or sculpture, a software, anything we design really, your “design” matters in ways you may not be aware of and I found this book to be a must read if are into designing just about anything used by humans and I would go as far as calling it gross negligence if you didn’t, unless of course you know everything about design already, then I am just preaching to the choir…

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