All posts filed under “Embedding code

Sarah Burwood: Tumble Sums

Sarah Burwood: Tumble Sums

We’ve covered teaching machines and programmed learning textbooks a few times on the blog, and I’ll admit to a general fascination with analogue computing and similar ideas, ever since reading John Crank‘s Mathematics and Industry as a teenager, after finding it in a skip (dumpster) […]

comments 5
Exploiting the desire for order

Exploiting the desire for order

I met a lot of remarkable people in Finland, and some of them – they know who they are – have given me a lot to think about, in a good way, about lots of aspects of life, psychology and its relation to design. Thanks […]

comments 7
Nudges and the power of choice architecture

Nudges and the power of choice architecture

An ‘advance uncorrected page proof’ of Nudge I managed to get off Abebooks. Thanks to Hien Nguyen for the photo. Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, is a publishing sensation of the moment, no doubt helped by Thaler’s work advising Barack Obama (many thanks […]

comments 4
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 […]

comments 7
Best bitter

Best bitter

Bitrex, the world’s most bitter substance, is what’s known as a taste aversive – added to products which might seem tasty to humans (especially children) to persuade them not to drink them, or to spit out what they’ve already drunk. It’s a similar idea to […]

comment 0
Ann Thorpe: Can artefacts be activists?

Ann Thorpe: Can artefacts be activists?

Ann Thorpe, author of the intriguing-sounding Designer’s Atlas of Sustainability – is pursuing an interesting investigation into design activism: Some of the basic issues around design activism include: # isn’t all design activism? # how much design should be activist — aren’t designers supposed to […]

comment 1
Home-made instant poka-yokes

Home-made instant poka-yokes

Update: Also known as Useful Landmines in the 43 Folders world – thanks Pantufla! Mistake-proofing – poka-yoke – can be as simple as encouraging/forcing yourself to do things in a sequence, to avoid forgetting or avoiding intermediate steps. If you’re the sort of person who […]

comments 33
I believe in mirror-queues

I believe in mirror-queues

Meagan Call has written a very interesting piece examining the technique used in some (women’s) public restrooms* of moving the mirrors to the wall near the entrance/exit, rather than behind the sinks as might be expected (and is usually found in mens’ facilities), to lessen […]

comment 1
Destroy everything you touch

Destroy everything you touch

We can’t help but be familiar with the concept of ‘malicious code’ in the context of computer security and programming, but in general the idea of products or technology which, as they’re used, sabotage or degrade the performance of a ‘rival’, is intriguing and not […]

comment 1
Full, tilt

Full, tilt

Jan Hoekstra’s Balancing Bowls for Royal VKB (via Boing Boing) are an interesting ‘portion control/guidance’ solution – as Cory Doctorow puts it: The tilt is tiny, all of 3 degrees, and the net effect is very satisfying — you gradually add snacks to the “light” […]

comment 0
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 […]

comments 13
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 […]

comments 7
Persuasion & control round-up

Persuasion & control round-up

New Scientist: Recruiting Smell for the Hard Sell Samsung’s coercive atmospherics strategy involves the smell of honeydew melon: THE AIR in Samsung’s flagship electronics store on the upper west side of Manhattan smells like honeydew melon. It is barely perceptible but, together with the soft, […]

comments 6
Some thoughts on classifications

Some thoughts on classifications

Over the last couple of years, this site has examined, mentioned, discussed or suggested around 250 examples of ‘control’ features or methods designed into products, systems and environments – many of which have come from readers’ suggestions and comments on earlier posts. I’d resisted classifying […]

comments 2
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 […]

comments 2