Thursday, January 19, 2006

Design paths: give vs want

John Maeda of the MIT media lab mused this summer about whether its more productive to improve a product's performance, or its desirability. -whether to go down the path of what you can give the product, or down the path of finding what someone wants from the product. Metacool recently discussed this musing, and Maeda's conclusion to "do both."

I dont quite agree, in the sense that I think there can be a convergence rather than a divergence.

Here are my comments from the metacool post:

Consider the context. For instance, how many electronic gizmos couldnt really stand to have one more feature added? down-featuring a product like that might actually make it more desirable.

Maeda's two paths can be rewritten as:
"what can we give the consumer?"
"what does the consumer want?"

In many organizations... these two questions are answered by seperate and competing groups.

Perhaps, the realization that making the product/experience actually better -whether that means more desirable, up-featured, down featured, hip, anti-hip,whatever- is the point where Maeda's two paths become the same path, and one ends up doing what is necessary, and no more.

in other words, "what can we give the consumer, that they want?"

I think its important to find that convergent path.

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