[thechat] rebel without a clause

Martin Paul Burns martin.burns at uk.ibm.com
Wed Oct 30 06:34:40 CST 2002

Andy wrote:

>A couple of years ago there was a documentary series on UK television
>called "Designs on...?", where each week they'd follow the renowned
>products designers Richard Seymour and Dick Powell* as they
>'redesigned' a common item that hadn't seen any major advancements for

>One particular episode they worked with a UK manufacturer of urinals,
>and for the whole program came across this very issue. They spent a lot
>of time re-engineering the toilet, adding design features such as water
>flushing from the lid rather than the bowl, or adding a lip at the back
>of the seat to cater for men's standing position and subsequent lack of
>aim. Meanwhile, the Head of Design


>at the manufacturer concerned,
>considered 'design' to be nothing less -- and nothing more -- than the
>'twiddly bits' and greek-style flourishes on the porcelain castings.

Yep - misunderstanding that there are many more design disciplines than
styling, and that ease of use can be a brand value. Richard and Dick are
industrial designers who consider all aspects of design (I should also
point out that the designs they did for *many* product categories were
stylish as well as practical).

Interesting reading:
How Buildings Change
The Design of Everyday Things - Don Norman's book about usability of

Both are somewhat rants about design for eyecandy's sake without a deeper
design approach. And I've seen *so many* buildings designed to look good in
model format for awards judging panels, but which are useless to work in.

> From personal experience, I order groceries online using the 'disabled'
>site at <http://www.tesco.com/access>, rather than the site at

RNIB did a lot of work with Tesco.

>At the end of the day, a
>blind-user is not going to get the same impact from a art-based site as
>a sighted viewer. But if you can offer him some alternative descriptive
>text and not simply exclude him, he's going to appreciate it more than
>the gallery down the e-mall that simply locks the virtual door on him
>by demanding he use the latest browser. And every blind person has
>plenty of sighted friends that he'll give favorable reports to, who
>might just buy that $5000 piece of art.

Plenty of galleries and museums have audio descriptions, too.


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