The good. The bad. The designed.

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One day, while I was walking to my office at Arizona State University, I noticed a solar-powered cellphone charging station. As soon as I noticed it, I thought “these are a good idea”. Having a place for anyone to charge their phones is amazing, especially if it’s solar-powered. But then I also started thinking of how hot it can get in Arizona and how little shade this specific station provides. It gets so hot here that it can literally be life-threatening to stand outside in the sun. When I added to this the thought that my device could overheat while it charges, I started thinking “maybe this is actually a bad idea”.

solar-powered cellphone charging station

It turns out, in that moment, I was thinking about something we all experience at one point or another: good and bad designs in action. These good and bad designs in action offer good and bad news. The bad news: at any moment, on any day, and for any reason, you could fall victim to poor design. The good news: You could also witness good, wonderful design. That’s because we live in a designed world, and our daily lives are full of interactions with it. Often, these interactions pass without notice, but on occasion, we might come across a designed thing that is too good (or too bad) to not notice. For example, you could find good design in the form of an electrical outlet that is placed exactly where you need it or you could find bad design as you struggle to view yourself in an awkwardly placed bathroom mirror.

example of good design and bad design

Instances like these can happen anytime and anywhere–on the bus, in the car, at a restaurant, in the bathroom. We might say to ourselves “well, look at that” but then go on with our day, potentially losing that momentary insight forever. We don’t want that to happen. Because we often come across these instances without a moment’s notice, it’s difficult to talk about them in our blog posts format here. For this reason, we are expanding our conversations about them over to the realm of the easily shareable, 280-character or fewer universe that is Twitter. Over on Twitter, we’ll continue doing a form of what we do here–talk about design–except that it will be bite-sized, perfect for the at-any-moment nature of these instances of good and bad design encounters. 

We’ll be using a set of hashtags for these tweets because we’d like to share what we find with you–and see yours as well! Join us on Twitter and be on the lookout for #talkingaboutdesign and #good&baddesign.

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