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This is the first time I deeply observe the principles and essence of normal things in our daily life and transfer my understanding into this short essay. Wish we can communicate with each other and progress together.
Considering the “smart” TV connected to a cable service and the Internet, the most distinct design feature is combination. As Arthur said, “All technologies are combinations.” Obviously, the technology of “smart” TV is the technological combination of cable television and wireless Internet. These two parts function in a dynamic of balance and interaction, which is another feature of “smart” TV—architecture. The invention, or so to speak, the evolution of “smart” TV was not appeared from nothing. It deeply rooted in human need and contemporary development. For example, as digital age coming, the demand of using Internet to watch TV series or play video games at home increases, thus the born of “smart” TV became natural, which also demonstrated that all new technologies fuse older technologies and place each technology into modules to work as a whole function to meet human purpose.
Recent years, public sharing bicycles are prevailing in China. It combines old technology—bicycles with artificial intelligence. As for design principles, first of all, affordance. Most of big cities in China are located in plain, the demand of public transportations has been massive. Hence, the big environment gave impetus to public sharing bicycles to solve the “last mile” problem. To unlock a bicycle, a user needs to scan a QR code. Next, users can either enter a 4-digit password or link the Bluetooth of the bicycle to unlock. The password cannot be too long or too short, which relates to the second principle—chunking. Designer set the digit to four to allow users get a short memory to enter the password. Thirdly, hierarchy is also involved in the unlocking action. A user needs to verify the identification (current location, availability, etc.) of the exact bicycle to make sure the bicycle is not broken before they get an access to unlock it. Fourthly, forgiveness. After successfully unlock the bicycle, there will be a celebrity’s sound to remind users to ride safely, which help users to avoid potential danger. Finally, feedback loop. After finishing using the bicycle, the user gets a digital map route, riding time and amount of money to pay. Users can report for repairs of the bike or any problems they have met during the ride. It forms a positive feedback loop to help the bicycle providers to improve their service.
Obviously, there are a lot of things public sharing bicycle needs to improve itself, such as simplifying the unlocking progress, enhancing the comfortableness of riding, etc. Also, the prevailing of public sharing bicycles has led to unexpected problems, such as parking bicycles at random, which results in public order disarrangement.
Hence, I think it is important and necessary for every designers to jump out of a designer’s mind and view the products from others’ position (in this case: users, government and competitors), constantly and thoroughly. In this way, they can improve their products in a better way to meet the demand of market.
P.S. There is a claim in Arthur’s book that I do not understand, I wish we can discuss together.
“Technology, once a means of production, is becoming a chemistry”.
Lidwell, Holden, and Jill Butler. Universal Principles of Design. Rockport Publishers, Inc., 2003.
Arthur, W. Brian. The Nature of Technology. Penguin Group, 2009.
Manovich, Lev. Software Takes Command. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2013.