So how do I decide what makes the Smart Products list?
You may be surprised to hear that I don't
follow the recent popular description of products called "smart"
because they can connect to the Internet. In fact, I'm more than a bit
skeptical of that feature as useful.
Instead, I look primarily at products that are well designed, and do a great job at what they are intended to do.
Bonus points if the product is also beautiful, but to me, function first, then form. On the other hand, it also seems to me that way too many products don't consider form at all, and so there are many products that could improve their looks.
Another aspect of form that affects function is human ergonomics.
There are some products that are designed to function well, yes, but don't take into consideration how easily it can be used, with minimal effort and thought required.
And even fewer products take into consideration people's varying degrees of ability or disability. Kudos to product designers that do.
Lastly, I like to consider the overall picture of the product's place in society and our environment. At the moment, this is still a tall order, since most companies don't even take this into consideration.
But, I'm happy to say that this situation is improving too.
Considerations of life cycle design, smarter packaging and triple bottom line reporting is slowly entering the awareness of product designers and producers.
In the end though, it's ultimately consumers that have the biggest impact on product improvements, so I offer my selection of smart products as a helpful guide to what's working and where there are opportunities for improvement.
I'd love to add your thoughts to the discussion. Be sure to add your comments and suggestions too.
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