Gabby – Homework 1 – The Psychopathology of Everyday Things

The Psychopathology of Everyday Things goes into a brief overview of the various design issues of everyday objects. The text takes a humorous spin on the various design issues, from a wall of doors, to a watch, to phone systems. It offered a perspective most don’t usually take towards these items existing in all of our lives that could cause such severe, utter frustration. It got me thinking about my own belongings and the frustration that they can cause me. For example, I wish that my iPod had a power button instead of having to push down the play button for a long time and then hope it turned off correctly. Another issue is something that had existed in my old clamshell dumbphone that doesn’t exist in my smartphone: the fake phonecall function. On my old phone, if you were to hit the speaker button three times, it would make the phone act as if it was receiving a phonecall – a number would appear, the phone would ring, you could answer it. It was a great thing for walking around alone at night if you felt like you were being watched or followed. Unfortunately, smartphones – specifically mine! – lack this.

These design issues are not from a lack of careful planning or poor design, but the lack of anticipation for what other uses or issues an average user may have with the product. It’s a problem that arises not just with engineered goods, but all products or services where the creator is not the direct or intended user, but the general public. This aftereffect can be reduced by plenty of QA and alpha/beta testers of your product or service. These design issues also arise from the creators of products and services weighing the pros and cons of aesthetics and functionality. This text is a clear showing of functionality being sacrificed for aesthetics.

Leave a Reply