Challenge 8

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As an art history student, I spend a
lot of time considering objects designed for aesthetic experience. Outside of
the art world, I also think aesthetics are important for product enjoyment. I
personally do not use an iPhone case: I am willing to expose the beautifully
designed exterior at the risk of damage. I use Eos lip balms because, while it
takes up more space, it’s ergonomics are superior, and the spherical shape is
more elegant than the usual cylinder.  Both
products are also minimalist, Dieter Rams like design. The Bauhaus school, with
its form follows function philosophy, remains influential in modern design. A
product that is desirable for me is one that is so simple it somehow needs no
explanation. In the “Framework of Product Experience”, this would be aesthetic
experience. 

Thinking back to my projects and
WIG, I do not find experience of meaning particularly compelling. I think it is
hard to design for meaning. It is either very personal—a cloth that reminds me
of what at my grandmother’s house—or cultural. If something is cultural, it is
also temporally limited. One example I can think of it is skeuomorphism, which was
Apple’s software design philosophy under Scott Forstall. Skeuomorphism is
useful as a transitory tactic: it got people used to moving from the physical world
to the digital world. My kids would not understand why an address book in a
phone should have leather stitching.

Looking through my projects from the
semester, viability is also something I find important. For the savings
challenge, we targeted educating kids. For the continuing education challenge,
Betucation returns money as you complete the course to encourage long-term
participation. I think it is possible to look at viability though Mazslow’s
hierarchy of needs. If you can find a budget constrained group, they would prioritize
things at the bottom: a starving man would not buy paint. If you can make a
product that is higher on Mazslow’s hierarchy than people would otherwise
consume, it may be a product they would want, though it would still need to be
well designed. 

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