New, Different, Better?

I ran across a nice article about Sam Lucente, HP's vice president of design. Most interesting to me was this visual gathering of navigation controls in use on HP's products.

Most people couldn't care less about this sort of thing. Me, I can't help but notice. It amazes me to see product attributes that appear over and over, especially within the same company, end up being different. Is it because the engineering teams don't talk to each other? Is it because the teams suffer a bad case of not-invented-here syndrome? Is it because it gets designed by someone that isn't thinking about this sort of thing? Uhhh, yes.

The article also details how common design can save a company money. It makes sense to me. You can have a dozen engineers spend time designing a navigation control, supporting circuitry and software, or you can do it once and reuse. I'm not saying things shouldn't ever change, but I'd prefer the change be because the new iteration is better, not because someone felt like doing it their same and different way.

I'm with you HP and Mr. Lucente. I like your Q Control and hope to see it everywhere (because it isn't showing up on the iPaqs yet :)


Jason said...

Very good article, makes you wish you worked for a large company that would put this kind of resources toward consistent design.

Makes you sad when you can see actual financial savings too, not just the intangible benefits such as consistent branding.

Samantha said...

Good info and very interesting. It's impressive that so many of those navigation designs are so similar