There’s a school of thought that thinks of design as primarily a visual medium.
Haven’t many of us been seduced by the thin, sleek profile and attractive finish of a MacBook enough to lay down the bills to buy one? The fit and finish are exquisite, yet the chintzy clatter from the keyboard come as a shock. The taps from the keyboard made me wonder, is this is quality computer with a dinky keyboard or just a nice shell enveloping sub-par components?
The contrapositive is when a mundane experience is ennobled by unexpectedly thoughtful touches. The morning commute can be the most forgettable part of every day but good design can leave subtle reminders that someone was thinking of you and wanted to make your experience more convenient, safer, or expressive.
During a trip to Montreal this summer I was struck by some very empathetic design elements in the transit system. Check out the slide show below.
There's never any ambiguity about whether one should push or pull on a door in the Montreal transit system. Simply follow the arrows to push on the right side of the door, whether coming or going. And you'll never run into someone going in the opposite direction. (photo courtesy of wikipedia) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portes_papillon_station_namur_metro_de_montreal.jpg#filelinks