10 principles for good technology

In the 1980′s, Deiter Rams wrote the “ten principles for good design” (sometimes referred to as the “ten commandments of good design”).

The principles came from a time of self-reflection when he and others in the design world were a bit concerned by the state of the world – β€œan impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.”

  1. Good design is innovative
  2. Good design makes a product useful
  3. Good design is aesthetic
  4. Good design makes a product understandable
  5. Good design is unobtrusive
  6. Good design is honest
  7. Good design is long-lasting
  8. Good design is thorough, down to the last detail
  9. Good design in environmentally friendly
  10. Good design is as little design as possible

Sometimes these days I feel about about technology (educational technologies in particular) the way Rams was feeling about design. To be honest, most days the web feels to me like “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” So what if we borrow Rams principles and apply them to technology? I think they fit pretty well. I think there are some powerful ideas in looking at technology this way and I could probably go on and on about each of these (I particularly like 10) .. but for now I will just leave you to think about this:

  1. Good technology is innovative
  2. Good technology makes a product useful
  3. Good technology is aesthetic
  4. Good technology makes a product understandable
  5. Good technology is unobtrusive
  6. Good technology is honest
  7. Good technology is long-lasting
  8. Good technology is thorough, down to the last detail
  9. Good technology in environmentally friendly
  10. Good technology is as little technology as possible

One thought on “10 principles for good technology

  1. I agree that #10 is my favorite, though #8 (good technology is thorough, down to the last detail) is very important and often overlooked. I guess since technologies can be quickly implemented, they are. That said, when good technology follows good design and is carefully and thoughtfully constructed and implemented, it usually stands out. (I’m immediately thinking of contradictions such as Craigslist, but I never use it because it’s so aesthetically uncomfortable…) Adobe’s new platform for Wired on the iPad is a very strong example of fulfilling this list’s tenets.