Make Every Bit of a Design's Experience Count

Over the weekend we went to a fairly up market restaurant for dinner. It was a nice little quaint setup with enthusiastic waiters and fantastic food. My rack of lamb was particularly delicious.
All in all it was a good meal, good company and a good night. However it will be unlikely that I will comeback to this restaurant again. The reason was that someone decided to leave the doors to the restaurant’s toilet wide open. As a result of this, the moment you walked into the restaurant, it smelled like a well-used public toilet.
You never realized how important something like “a smell” is to a restaurant until it’s gone, and in this case, gone bad. In other words you don’t really know what you are missing until its gone. Identifying such small but important details takes a lot of skill, making designing an experience a difficult task indeed.
From another angle, I can almost say that “good design” is one people don’t have a problem with because it covers every possible problem by the removal of such “pain points”. I always say people should complain about “good design” a lot more!
Unfortunately consumers today are savvy enough to take a lot of this for granted in your products. This makes our task as Industrial Designers a lot more challenging. So now you know the baseline you have to maintain. The real question is how do you design a product that can go beyond this and more?

4 Comments
  • Adam Richardson

    April 28, 2009 at 2:00 pm Reply

    Another pet peeve of mine is restaurants that use highly fragrant handsoap in the bathrooms, especially “industrial” soaps they get from their cleaning companies, that often have a very chemically smell. It lingers on your hands, and overpowers food smells when you bring the fork (or whatever) up to your mouth. Ruins the experience….

  • DT

    April 28, 2009 at 10:16 pm Reply

    Hi Adam,
    Thanks for your comment! I fully agree on that hand soap, it is just extremely overpowering and reeks all over the place. Lots to consider these days as a restaurateur.

  • Arjan

    May 15, 2009 at 5:13 pm Reply

    And why are all the faucets in these places so tiny! I can hardly place my hands under them. They are sized like they are for small children. I don’t know why these are used everywhere, because their use is so limited.

  • Arjan

    May 15, 2009 at 5:19 pm Reply

    One thing that comes to mind is that a lot of times a designer is very aware of these details. But in the end it is the customer who has to pay and will many times not see the dramatic difference in user experience, so these tiny details get left out. Just for the fact that they mostly focus on the practical part of the design, not the emotional part.
    I’ve had so many discussions with clients about this and it takes a lot of energy to convince them to look at these details. And in some projects, these were killed unfortunately.
    I am still looking for the one argument that will convince any client to reconsider their ideas about this…

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