Product

When Functionality Beats Aesthetics

Among the list of things that push me to practice my highest level of anger management, readers will notice an asterisk next to poorly designed products. In our ever-evolving world of technology, designers across the globe have to be committed to giving consumers the latest and the best products they can get their hands on. Whether they're cell phones, clothing or—as in my case—website themes, designers have to find new and creative ways to produce highly engaging products that both capture and sustain consumer interest. It's not easy to stand out in this competitive world that can very well be an oyster for highly effective designers from all areas of expertise, but there are a few things that must remain constant as we continue to see thousands of new toys and trinkets emerge.

Funky colors, uniquely manipulated structures, interactive features, smoothly cut edges; you name it and you'll find all of these characteristics in the products pushed in front of us at every turn. Who doesn't want a product that fits with the times and stands out?

The one concern I have as a consumer is that there's one characteristic I see being ignored far too frequently—functionality. Who gives a damn if you design a futuristic can opener made with platinum and colorful glass if it can't cut paper let alone a can of tuna?

The less mechanical but more technical products are no better. Anyone who has purchased a theme for a website in the past six months because of the cool ways you can manipulate images and provide an interactive feel for your viewers will tell you that some designers have a top secret competition to create the most obscure and confusing buttons you have to press to make anything work.

The point of technology is to make life easier and though beauty is of great value, if it ever came down to it and the two clashed in a back alley somewhere in Brooklyn at 2 a.m., functionality would pimp slap aesthetics.

If we're not careful, we'll all end up living in homes where doors look like they should be pushed or pulled when in actuality they slide, surrounded by products that were supposed to serve some function but in fact sit on tables and hang on walls as a new form of "art" which consists of dysfunctional reasons we spent our hard-earned money.