Search for “activity tracker” and you’ll see a load of products that look like this:
Why? Because as the technology emerged to make products like this possible, medical an aesthetic seemed to arrive with it. Sensor-based technology of all kinds was encased in friendly plastic shapes, nurse presumably in an attempt to look representative of a future we’ve glimpsed in Sci-fi movies.
Then the Withings Activé comes along (link via Ian Bach). A fitness tracker without any curved bright plastic in sight:
This design ‘feels’ fresh. And yet of course, it’s not. It’s a return to more classic watch design. It’s funny that it should feel disruptive. That it should take so long for a company to remember what sort of objects we like to wear. Do early movers think it undermines their ‘innovation’ message if a design looks familiar? Either way. LIKE.
Jamie Oliver continues his smart use of Instagram by posting an image of the new menu for his restaurant, find Fifteen:
One of his followers made a suggestion…
Anyway, pharm Jamie’s response was brilliant (if you can excuse the lack of punctuation)…
What I like about his reply, see apart from his passion and unwavering vision, is that he understands the role of the menu in its physical environment. The menu doesn’t have to do the entire job. As he says, a more important feature in the experience is the service provided and the advice given.
There are parallels here with design in the digital space — especially mobile. Too often, the temptation is to think that the thing you’re designing needs to carry the entire experience. That every possible feature should be crammed into an interface. When it comes to mobile services especially, the on-screen experience is only a part of it. The app should do as much as it needs to and no more.
Design means considering the role of each component, and in my opinion, like Jamie says, we should be allowing face-to-face interaction to breathe when it is a richer experience. Don’t build in social functionality if it’s easier for people to email each other. Don’t include all the information under the Sun if it’s easier, or more enjoyable for people to ask a question.
Everything you make is part of something bigger.