All posts filed under “Design engineering

What is demand, really?

What is demand, really?

In a lot of the debate and discussion about energy, future electricity generation and metering, improved efficiency and influencing consumer behaviour – at least from an engineering perspective – the term “demand” is used, in conjunction with “supply”, to represent the energy required to be […]

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Eight design patterns for errorproofing

Eight design patterns for errorproofing

Go straight to the patterns One view of influencing user behaviour – what I’ve called the ‘errorproofing lens’ – treats a user’s interaction with a system as a set of defined target behaviour routes which the designer wants the user to follow, with deviations from […]

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Lights reminding you to turn things off

Lights reminding you to turn things off

Duncan Drennan, who writes the very thoughtful Art of Engineering blog, notes something extremely interesting: standby lights, if they’re annoying/visible enough, can actually motivate users to switch the device off properly: Our DVD player has (to me) the most irritating standby light that I have […]

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Design with Intent presentation from Persuasive 2008

Design with Intent presentation from Persuasive 2008

Dan Lockton: Design With Intent (Persuasive 2008) view presentation (tags: environment affordances sustainability lockton) EDIT: I’ve now added the audio! Thanks everyone for the suggestions on how best to do it; the audio is hosted on this site rather than the Internet Archive as the […]

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One-way turn of the screw

One-way turn of the screw

One-way screws, such as the above (image from Designing Against Vandalism, ed. Jane Sykes, The Design Council, London, 1979) are an interesting alternative to the usual array of tamper-proof ‘security fasteners’ (which usually require a special tool to fit and remove). There’s a very interesting […]

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Do you really need to print that?

Do you really need to print that?

This is not difficult to do, once you know how. Of course, it’s not terribly useful, since a) most people don’t read the display on a printer unless an error occurs, or b) you’re only likely to see it once you’ve already sent something to […]

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Slanty design

Slanty design

The Main Reading Room, Library of Congress. Image from CIRLA. In this article from Communications of the ACM from January 2007, Russell Beale uses the term slanty design to describe “design that purposely reduces aspects of functionality or usability”: It originated from an apocryphal story […]

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Water on the membrane

Water on the membrane

The Cranfield/Electrolux Smart Sink – photo from Trespassers by Ed van Hinte and Conny Bakker. Ten years ago, teams from Cranfield University and Electrolux Industrial Design collaborated on an ‘eco-kitchen’, a family of related concepts for a kitchen of the future. Part of the intention […]

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On the level

On the level

A tilt-detector from this 1984 US patent, with intended application on a packing box. The liquid detection stickers in mobile phones, which allow manufacturers and retailers to ascertain if a phone has got wet, and thus reject warranty claims (whether judiciously/appropriately or not), seem to […]

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Dishonourable discharge?

Dishonourable discharge?

Long overdue, I’m currently reading Bruce Schneier‘s excellent Beyond Fear, and realising that in many ways, security thinking overlaps with architectures of control: the goal of so many systems is to control users’ behaviour or to deny the user the ability to perform certain actions. […]

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