Is a purely functional product going to be successful? Why does good product have to involve an element of ‘pretty’?
This is a call to product developers of engineering tools. Care about the user experience! Spend some time finding out what would makes us WANT to use your product, not be FORCED to use your product. Product designers for engineering products should heed Vaders advice to Luke. It is the near hatred of using a poorly designed product that will make it easier for a well designed product to take your market share.
“Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well. You have controlled your fear. Now, release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me.”
There’s an entire industry out there that deals with the so called User Experience (UX) which until recently I never knew existed. These dudes are involved in figuring out WHY someone would WANT to use a particular product. This interests me, because over the past mumblemumble years I continually find myself loathing particular tasks not because they are hard but because I find no joy in the task at hand.
I realise that every minute of every work day doesn’t have to be fun but surely the principle aim of product designers is to make a thing that is both functional and gives a sense of pleasure when using it.
In some cases the pleasure comes from the graphical interaction, like with momentum a gorgeous photo to start your day, and a quote of the day to inspire. Others include gamification to provide a sense of achievement when a task is complete. I look at other industries doing this well, and ask why is this sensitivity to engineers not occuring?
Are we as engineers not fun loving people? Or, as it seems to me, that we are viewed as dowdy tweed wearing pipe smoking long bearded intellects who love nothing better than reading the most boring book in the world. What do we get stuck with…a bastardised excel spreadsheet with (maybe) a macro or two in the background!
The IT industry involved in gaming and movies has helped move CADD software such as 3ds, 12d, and Navisworks forward at a great pace, yet project management software is still antiquated. Even small business owners get beautifully crafted software such as intuit or xero!
So please, please, please, start treating us as creative souls who love to experiment, communicate, invent and produce. With tools made with the user in mind the end product has to be good, because it is made with a song in the heart and a twinkle in the eye.
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