The Usability Post
Thoughts on design and user experience by Dmitry Fadeyev

A Motive For Bad Design, Pt II

The cafeteria is well designed, with spacious tables and comfortable chairs. But it then becomes too popular, interfering with the true purpose of the Design Centre, which is to encourage good design among British manufacturers. The popularity of the Centre and its cafeteria to tourists is unexpected. The Design Centre decides to discourage people from using the cafeteria. They take out the original tables and chairs and replace them with dysfunctional, uncomfortable ones, all in the name of good design—the goal in this case being to discourage people from using the cafeteria and lingering. Actually, restaurants often install uncomfortable chairs for just this reason. Fast-food places often have no chairs or tables. So my complaints provide evidence that the design criteria were met, that the design was successful.

- Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

“For even falsehood, uttered by the tongue of man, seemed like truth and light before this hopelessly-deaf and unresponsive silence.”

My new book: a translation of selected short stories by Leonid Andreyev, the father of Russian Expressionism from the Silver Age of Russian literature. A piercing, pitiless glance into the heart of the human condition.

☛ Read online

Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

Sign up to my email newsletter to receive regular recommendations of exceptional books on a wide range of topics including design, art, history and philosophy. A summary of my latest posts will also be included. Sign up below: