Everyday Design

In his latest blog post, Seth Godin discusses the triumph of everyday design, arguing that simplicity is often superior to luxury when it comes to function and usability. That sink with an intricate, motion-sensing faucet is more difficult to turn on and more likely to make a mess than the standard model. Luxury goods used to... Continue Reading →

Designed For Humans, Not A Machine

Several months ago, I signed up for a course on Human-Centered Design. The class began this week, and it has already opened my eyes to the ways in which our world often neglects human factors when creating or revisiting products and systems. We design aesthetically stunning marble showers, in which people slip and injure themselves.... Continue Reading →

Disability-Minded Design

Before my cousin passed away, his arm was amputated and he was left to figure out creative ways to approach his old habits and hobbies. He quickly figured how to manipulate his video game controller with his toes, and soon thereafter discovered a one-handed game controller, which offered continuity--an opportunity to enjoy his favorite video games under... Continue Reading →

Why Systems Trump Goals

My boss once led a manager's meeting in which he explained the true meaning of project management. Project management does not involve showing up to work, drafting out a to-do list, and then methodically checking tasks off as complete. Rather, a true project manager views every chore in their life, from their daily commute to... Continue Reading →

How To Think Like An Engineer

Though I attended yearly STEM camps as a child, I don't think I fully grasped what STEM careers entailed. I knew that scientists conducted research and that medical professions helped people to heal, and I suspected that the technology field was filled with nerdy computer programmers like my dad. No one ever explained to me... Continue Reading →

An Argument For Increased Efficiency

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it; if you can't manage it, you can't improve it. I advanced quickly at my current job. Productivity and efficiency are some of my core values, so it was easy to apply the mindset and tactics to my work. Even the smallest productivity gain, say 1% monthly... Continue Reading →

Defocalization and Illumination

Have you ever been absolutely stuck on a problem, then recognize the solution as soon as you step into the shower or slip out from under the barbell? If so, you have experienced defocalization. Scientific discovery and innovative ideas often originate from a combination of focalized and defocalized consciousness. You zoom in on your project,... Continue Reading →

Structure and Fluidity

I have always been drawn to poetry. The juxtaposition of eloquent wording with an architectural form is a comfort. This coziness extends from classics like W. H. Auden, Rilke, and Pablo Neruda to modern favorites like Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, and Ellen Bass. The same goes for bold lines and organic forms: a bright rose... Continue Reading →

Built to Break

My parents still have the same kitchen appliances they received as wedding gifts 35 years ago. The toaster, waffle iron and popcorn popper are still perfectly functional despite faded logos. Contrast this to the toaster and clothes iron I bought when I moved into my first apartment, which each lasted approximately two years. Things are... Continue Reading →

What is Existential Ergonomics?

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.” --Jean-Paul Sartre What if we could wrestle down life’s big questions using the scientific method? What if we could systematically improve human thoughts, actions, and environments... Continue Reading →

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