Reflection on design and human contact 2

The topic that I would like to initiate this blog with, is how my perception of a proficient design has further matured during this class. I know that individuals often misinterpret an attractive design with phenomenal organization of elements and captivating colours as good design. In actuality the only factor that could label a design as being accomplished is if the user of that design could execute its function effortlessly. For example, if I framed a website that looked exceptionally captivating but the back-arrow symbol instead of taking you to the previous page redirected you to your cart. Although the website would be pleasing to look at, since it won’t preform its functions accurately users wouldn’t come back to it. A good design might not look as beautiful but would be able to achieve its purpose seamlessly. If we cogitate on it, we can easily discern that the best design is often left unseen, like if we are seated on a chair that’s comfortable doing something for instance writing a paper we won’t ponder on how at ease we are on that chair, rather we’d be entirely focused upon writing. Only when the chair is poorly designed and makes us feel uncomfortable, is when we will begin to be analytical about its design deficiency. Another thing this lecture made me scrutinize was how design and art are substantially distant, maybe even veritable opposites in concept. While the success of design lies in being concealed through its seamlessness, making itself visible is what art thrives on. In my opinion anything made for the sole purpose of executing functions or to attain a purpose would be considered as design, while anything made without having a specific function or purpose would be art.

Moving forward I would like to articulate on what I believe was the most consequential subject discussed during the lecture i.e. design does not exist in isolation. Hence designers create tools/products used by the people and those products can in turn dictate how its users behave. That being said I would like to put forward a concern, that I think should be further discussed during the lecture. Let’s reflect upon the design of social media platforms i.e. Instagram, twitter, Facebook etc. So, when users are scrolling through their feeds, uploading a picture or eagerly waiting to receive notifications for likes and comments, are they thinking about the platform or how easy it is to achieve global social interaction? Probably not. So, does that make the design of these platforms where its users exist as simulated reality, good? If yes than I think we need to change our definition of what good design is. If we ruminate upon the business model of these platforms it’s easy to identify that the platforms aren’t their product, rather it’s their platforms users and their data. That they can sell to the highest bidder. Think about it deliberately, whose purpose are these platforms serving its users or the multi-billion-dollar companies that created them? These platforms thrive on keeping their users engaged and have no measures to limit their use. To achieve this, they only show people what can retain their attention. Hence people only see what they want to see whether it be fabricated or factual. This has altered the behavior of their users in a way that they have been deprived of tolerance for contrasting personalities with divergent stances. They can exist in a bubble with people who think, talk and act like them without making any compromise or having the need to come to an understanding. This is crippling society at its core. Having the data of billions of people on sale for the highest bidder, can be used to influence entire election results, create outrage to promote a certain agenda and even topple entire nations. These are the things that we need to address as designers and come to a solution for before our generation and the next is completely dismantled. Hence, I think it is absolutely necessary that we add to our definition of what a good design is, with being seamless and easy to use, it should also have a positive impact socially, globally or on an individual level rather than a negative one for it to be considered good design!

-Mustafa Hasan


Student 🍁🎨

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