May 08, 2004

Consumers as Designers

Another take on the "power tools" post I made yesterday. Design researcher Steve Portigal discusses the rapid growth of Photoshopped images of fictious products:
Product designers may have a negative knee-jerk reaction to all this. Who do these people think they are? Up to this point, the limited availability of glorious tools (and training needed to use them) placed this type of speculative conceptual activity out of the reach of the masses. Now the technology, if not the ability, is within reach of millions. But for designers this really is a "the-more-the-merrier" situation. These new enabling technologies (i.e., Photoshop and its brethren) further the discourse about what is possible, and what is desired—and that discourse is an essential ingredient in the work we do for non-fake clients.
Lots of great links as well. Posted by johndan at May 8, 2004 04:19 PM | TrackBack

Had to add this quick anecdote, as the kairos was just too powerful not to...

Leslie is right this moment with a client for whom she has done no less than 15 different floor plans in response to an endless stream of requests for alternative conceptions of two spaces in their house: a master bedroom and the living room.

The remarkable thing is how these requests "sketches" the client makes by scanning Leslie's to-scale, code-adherent floor plans into her computer, and then cutting and pasting them into versions of the space that challenge reality (or at least the version of it that fits within the walls of their current house).

Les is not annoyed by fact, she makes a substantial hourly rate for doing the alternative drawings and then again for meeting and explaining why they can't work, why the violate code, or as she put it this morning, why they "couldn't exist without there being some sort of wormhole or other spact-time anomaly in their front foyer!"

The problem? the design tools available to the novice don't adequately translate the languages that communicate constraints - which on the one hand is kind of cool, but which also hampers the lay designer in ways that ultimately benefit the predominant power structure (that is...Leslie is still the expert getting paid here...).

ok...with that one, I segued into a reply on your POMO efficacy post

Posted by: Bill H-D at May 9, 2004 11:35 AM
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