The assignment: Capture six photos, taken by yourself, of three good designs and three bad designs. (There was more criteria, including a wishlist that left me with eight photos, but it’s not germane to you people.)
Good Physical Design
Let’s just start at the pinnacle. These are the best-designed anything I’ve ever had. I can use them, my toddler niece could use them (she doesn’t need to), and both my parents can use them (they do). That spread gets an A-plus under normal circumstances, let alone for a piece of technology this sophisticated. Volume up, volume down, and three channels, all on two plastic curves half the size of garlic cloves with one button on each. Comfy, too. You come up with something that people have to wedge in their ears (or any other orifice) but that is so well-designed that the wearer can forget about them for fifteen hours.
Bad Physical Design: Sneeze guards
I realize I am at risk of Designation turning me into a low-rent (no-rent) Jerry Seinfeld impersonator, but who thought of these? I’ll tell you who: A short person. A goddamn evil tedious germophobic short person who can reach the good stuff in the back row without having to slump sideways and slouch. These things work perfectly for a five-inch adult height range, from the short end of being able to juuust rest your chin on it to the point a very small window later wherein your shoulder rotates above the plane of the glass and you keep jarring your upper arm on the beveled plastic edge. I hate these so much I try to sneeze on them, because it leaves a cool blast pattern for the next person to examine while reaching uncomfortably for the banana peppers.
Good Digital Design:
Stop. Do not click this link on anything besides a phone. Just trust me; this is brilliant. Go get your phone. I’ll wait. It’s worth it. See? It was totally worth it, wasn’t it?
Bad Digital Design:
Meetup makes you rewrite your bio every single time you join a group. Also, when joining similar groups, the secondary tier of questions are often similar or identical, and you have to rewrite those answers over and over and over too. Not my favorite, especially when it’s professional sounding stuff instead of the usual Hoyo! Heya! Yaroo! blather I get to write for fun.
Good Local Design:
Some things we take for granted, and yet, this is such an upgrade over the way DON’T WALK worked for many years that it defies description. And all it took was somebody to look at a sign that two hundred million people saw every day for thirty years and think “Y’know…”
Bad Local Design:
Little asterisk on this one, not just because my picture came out too blurry to bother posting. But when you ride the CTA, and you pay with a Ventra card, the card simply says “Go ahead!” when you pay, without telling you how much it charged or how much is left. The asterisk is for the fact that the CTA and Ventra people probably consider this good design. I, as someone who reloads his Ventra card with cash, don’t.
Good Service Design:
It’s not the offer that I like here–though I do–or the email layout or anything, I just needed a picture to rep for Southwest. Southwest has designed a whole service experience around flying Southwest. You’re saving a little money, though less than you used to, and they have shielded themselves from you noticing that fact by very carefully staying homey and rough-edged. SWA is a titan now, but it still acts like the unsure, eager to please new guy, and it works, and it’s fun.
Bad Service Design:
This email almost gave me a stroke:
It is an email “welcoming” me to audit protection, which I bought and paid for when I filed my taxes two weeks ago, and the abrupt appearance of which a few days ago gave bleary morning me the impression I was being notified of an audit, which did not leave me in a good mood.