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  • Richard Herriott

Do UX people understand industrial design?



King and Chang (2016) have a booked titled Understanding Industrial Design – Principles for UX and interaction design. The premise is that more and more software will be connected to hardware. That means UX designers need to know what the heck is going on with industrial design. To help UXers who don’t know much about stuff made of plastic, metal and glass and other breakable material, the authors highlight a few key principles of ID. These can be summed up as sensorial, simple, enduring, playful, thoughtful, sustainable and beautiful.


I can´t argue with these basic categories nor the examples of products selected to illustrate the point. However, even if I am interested in aesthetics, curves and surface quality, the key thing with industrial design is not really that involves materials and physical engineer. It is that there is a host of design methods allied to design processes that lead to the products we see in the shops. Just as UX people understand what goes on behind the screens, ID people have a wealth of knowledge about engineering, materials and production processes that have a major impact on how the item is made. This all only makes sense after intensive user research and material/form ideation. So, what might be missing from this otherwise easily readable intro is the process and methods which are the understructure leading to valid design decisions.


King, S., & Chang, K. (2016). Understanding industrial design: Principles for UX and interaction design. O'Reilly Media, Inc., Ca.

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