The most over designed light switch? Or useful complexity?

There is a perennial debate about how much design is too much. We all want simpler things, except when we don’t.

Here’s an entertaining example. How complex can you make a light switch? And is there an amount of complexity that so complicated you can’t imagine a situation where the complexity would be useful to someone?

This photo by Steve Portigal shows one candidate for the most sophisticated switch design of all time.


Challenge: What is this UI for?

Traveling to foriegn countries is always fun for designers. You get to see entirely different ways to solve familiar problems, or to see designs that try to solve problems you’re not sure are problems at all.

Here’s a great example. We found this design: Can you guess what it’s for?

(Photo by Jill Stutzman)japan-ui

A 140 sq foot house

People measure homes by square foot, but size says nothing about how well designed that space is. I’m sure you’ve seen small homes that are arranged in smart ways that make much better use of space, and are therefore more comfortable, than much larger, more expensive homes.

Here’s an example at the micro level – a 140sq foot house:

140 sq2 140 sq

From Science Friday.

Hands free bathroom doors, take two

The StepNPull design for bathroom doors has a competitor.

At Portage Bay in the university district of Seattle, Instead of using your foot to open the bathroom door to keep your hands clean, this design lets you use your elbow to open the door.