A Motive For Bad Design, Pt II

The cafeteria is well designed, with spacious tables and comfortable chairs. But it then becomes too popular, interfering with the true purpose of the Design Centre, which is to encourage good design among British manufacturers. The popularity of the Centre and its cafeteria to tourists is unexpected. The Design Centre decides to discourage people from using the cafeteria. They take out the original tables and chairs and replace them with dysfunctional, uncomfortable ones, all in the name of good design—the goal in this case being to discourage people from using the cafeteria and lingering. Actually, restaurants often install uncomfortable chairs for just this reason. Fast-food places often have no chairs or tables. So my complaints provide evidence that the design criteria were met, that the design was successful.

- Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

author picture Written by Dmitry Fadeyev
Published on October 13, 2010