Design Mission: Use the checklist


At the back of How Design Makes The World is a checklist of questions anyone can use to think more critically about the designs they experience in the world.

If you take on this mission, report back! Write up your answers and post them online and let me know about it. Use the hashtags #designmtw & #designmission, and leave a comment on this blog post.

You can see some examples here:

How to use this checklist: Pick any product, place or service that’s nearby, so you can look at it and use it. Maybe a street intersection, a kitchen appliance or a new mobile app. Take a minute to study how it looks and works. Then answer the following questions.

  • When it was made, what were they trying to improve?
  • Who were they trying to improve it for?
  • How successful were they?
  • Is it clear what it does? Is easy to learn? Does it work reliably?
  • What hidden constraints could explain its weaknesses?
  • Who paid for it? Who profits from it?
  • Who were the powerful people who influenced the design?
  • Did people come first, or a technology, or an organization?
  • What message is its style sending to you?
  • Who is included or excluded from participating in using it?
  • What systems is this design a part of? Are those systems working well?
  • Where in another place, or in the natural world, is there a better design for solving this problem?
  • Does this design create flow or conflict? Or some of both, perhaps for different people?
  • What new problems does this design create if it’s successful?
  • If you discovered something interesting, what are you going to do about it? (If in doubt, start a conversation.)

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