A Reflection on Kate Hartman’s Talk at NYU Shanghai

Last year in January, I took a course, which is called Design and Innovation at NYU Abu Dhabi. In this class, we were challenged to modify home furnishings so that family members may be able to interact through the furnishings over distance and time. During the brainstorming process, the instructors could ask us “If this idea is implemented, how are the users going to interact with your product?” By using a user-product interaction approach, I and other four students ended up making a messaging pillow which we nicknamed it Cussager (A cushion which massages you).

After I attended the talk by Kate Hartman at NYU Shanghai this week, I was trying to relate the kind of design I learned in Abu Dhabi a year ago and what she was talking about especially about user-product interaction. At the end of her an amazing talk, I came to conclusion that, her entire talk maybe be summarized that it is time for not only researchers but also non-research designers to stop talking about users-product interaction and focus more on the design itself. Of course, It is a good idea to associate design with

Of course, It is a good idea to associate design with an interaction between a user the designed products. However, from Kate’s talk, it may be implied that this is not a good approach since it may hinder innovation. Apart from educational institutions, also the design industry, in general, may consider focusing on the design itself without associating it with user’s demands or interactions. It is a good thing to consider how users interact with your design, but also it has to be noted that sometimes designs (products) may change how humans interact with them or interact with each other.

To conclude, products which are designed without considering much the user-product relationship may put their users in an awkwardness situation. This is because they may be the only products around and also they can be something totally new which only existed in the designer’s mind. I believe that anything needs time. When the products are in use for a long time, people may be more comfortable with them and even not be able to imagine their lives without those products.

Questions to Kate:

  1. What inspired you to be a designer?
  2. Do you do any team or individual brainstorming when you are working on a certain project? How is it like?
  3. Your designs may include electric circuits which may be prune to electric shocks. Which precautions do you take to reduce the electric shock risk? Regardless of the precautions, they may still happen and harm your clients. Do you have terms and conditions for the use of your products in order to monitor a relationship between you, your products and your clients?



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