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3 Things UX Designers Can Learn From Industrial Design

26 August 2020

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The industrial design emerged with the modernisation of craftsmanship and since then, industrial designers have been focusing on the problems of manufacturability and safety. Industrial designers have long been working on the same issues that UX designers are struggling within this era. Many methods used in the design of physical tools are employed in the digital world, more specifically, in the field of UX design. 

UX designers will often find themselves using various skills and approaches directly from the field of industrial design. As there are a number of overlapped skills and approaches, UX designers will find skills and approaches that they can learn from industrial designers. 

The Split between Physical and Digital Design is a Historical Accident

UX design and industrial designs are the two halves of product design. Industrial design has been used in computing since the 1960s and ‘70s. But when Douglas Englebart’s oN-Line System and Xerox’s Alto designed a prototype with an intimate connection between hardware and software, they failed to move enough units in the cash register. In the late 2000s, Apple found a way to reunite industrial design and UX. Now, this idea is used by many other companies to create “smart” products. 

Data is a Material Just Like Any Other

What designers should know about data is that it is just like any other material that has qualities that can create new products. Designers need to understand the particular sets of data have qualities that can sculpt, it has breaking points and a context where it has unexpected uses. They can experiment with data, to understand its qualities. Experiencing industrial design will allow people to examine the design and think about a solution. 

Hybrid Design Labs Will Become the New Normal

Organisations will take hybrid approaches to find opportunities in networks and physical things. With a strong partnership with clients, designers will be able to move back and forth across the barriers between these two disciplines. 

With the combination of digital and physical designs, teams can create strong and successful products. They can switch back and forth to learn the pros and cons of both disciplines and make the right choice.