Wednesday, October 20, 2010


A great kitchen design starts with the gooey stuff - right? Absolutely if you are talking in terms of GUI - pronounced gooey! The graphic user interface (GUI) is the method we humans use to command our computers - the visual connection between what's in our head and what task we want our computer to do. But we also interface with interiors everyday. For example, when we put the kettle on to make a cup of tea we must figure out which knob to turn to make the correct burner engage.

The knob is the user interface between the user and the flame. Why do I always choose the wrong knob? I have had the same cooktop for 15 years - and I still have to examine the knob graphic carefully each time. Is it me? In this case it isn't - it's poor design. The knobs aren't arranged in same pattern as the burners - it's not obvious - and it should be!

Good design impacts not just convenience, but safety as well. It is critically important in factories, for productivity and safety, but it should be just as important in our homes. Good design can mean the difference between a soothing cup of tea or a burning tea cozy! Universal design - design for everyone of every ability level is key. Our homes shouldn't trap us but free us, by ensuring that usability is considered for individuals with varying mobility. Check out this article for more ideas.

If you are interested in more ideas about GUI - check out Will Farrell and graphic illustration of the workings of his character's mind in the introduction to the movie Stranger than Fiction. It's only 3 minutes long.

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