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I have been questioning for a few years now how & why products are allowed to subverted us. Primarily I have been thinking about the retail experience of purchasing a TV. I still gase in amazement at how we purchase TVs, were so concerned with size, picture quality, the flatness and thickness of a TV. Its fare enough right? Hang-on, really the retail experience should revolve around the remotes that were all slaves to right?

In his book Designing Interactions, Bill Moggridge (2007, p239) cites David Liddle’s (Xerox) description of the remote “We interviewed some people with beautiful and very elaborate new media systems who were quite discouraged and quite unhappy with them. The solution from the manufacturers of consumer products was to produce the most dumfounding, enormous remote controls. Thirty buttons was not a large number for those controls. There was a period of suppression of the adoption of the beat of this technology simply because it was too complicated to use.”  Below is a solution to make remotes easier. Photo by Nicolas Zurcher.Simplifying-Remote-Control-

An exemplary example of how we can over coming these complexities was introduced to me by Rama Gheerawo (Helen Hamlyn Centre of Design) where Tom Stables (Royal College of Art) design an approach to the problem of older citizens not being able to watch TV due to the complexities of their remotes. Video link below. My challenge to retail stores would be to show us the remote and let us change channels to gauge how appropriate the remote is for us, over glossy screens and thin boxes.





Design & Thinking is a documentary produced by Muris Media, in collaboration with Taipei Design Center U.S. that explores the idea of “design thinking”!

The documentary explores the notions of design thinking from a business and design practitioner’s perspectives. The film draws on perspectives from Dr. Dan Formosa (smart design), Dave Kelley (ideo), Tim Brown (ideo) and Bill Moggridge (cooper-hewitt, national design museum) to name a few.

Some take home messages from the documentary are: the power of a stupid idea, designing with people not for them and, one of the most powerful visual statements in this documentary is the importance of prototyping your ideas to verify design intent.


As discussed on their site Design Thinking successfully explores “How do we fully engage organisations to think about the changing landscape of business, culture and society? Inspired by design thinking, this documentary grabs businessman, designers, social change-makers and individuals to portrait what they have in common when facing this ambiguous 21st century. What is design thinking? How is it applied in business models? How are people changing the worldwith their own creative minds? It is a call to the conventional minds to change and collaborate.”



Too often we ignore the sounds that our products produce. There is often an intrinsic beauty hidden in products only expressed when we: plug them in, open and close them, or in the case of a bicycle: cruze the cranks (zerr), press the bell (ting) or squeeze the brakes (squeal).

 created a short film with bicycle parts that wonderfully expresses the sensorial sounds of the bike. Stephen’s film successfully won the Bike Short Film Festival Spring 2012 in NYC

Copyright - Scott Mayson 2015