I am one of those people that always questions why things are the way they are. It is important for me to understand the world around me, to make sense of it and, if given the chance, to improve it.
Recently I was in a restaurant with some friends, I couldn’t help wonder why the tables were set out the way they were. It was then I noticed the table lamps, evenly spaced, all at the same height and all of them the exact same design, except for the shades. They were all different.
I pointed this out to one of my friends, who immediately laughed “Only you would notice something like that!” he said.
I am sure the owner of the restaurant, would disagree. I imagined him spending hours or even days deliberating over each and every shade and what it contributed towards the customer experience. Or perhaps his supplier just ran out of the shades he wanted, who knows?
On my travels, I spend a lot of time in hotels and almost without exception , I have noticed that, while the modern hotel might be trendily designed with crisp interiors and soothing lighting, more often than not, their placement of electrical sockets really sucks, especially when it comes to the bedrooms.
In my experience, there are rarely any usable sockets by the bed. I mean, where is one supposed to plug in one’s iPhone? Sure, there may be sockets and USB ports on the other side of the room near the desk, but not one where I want one, by the bed!
There have been countless times when I have had to move a heavy piece of furniture out of the way or unplug the only usable lamp to charge my phone. Sometimes I think there must be a disconnect between the architect, hotel owner and end user? Without collaboration we can all too easily end up with a designers dream; a nice space to look at but totally impractical to live in.
When we design new products or processes, I believe that it is vital to involve the end users right from the start . After all, who exactly is it for?
Until next time,
Oliver.