‘How well does your teapot pour?’
Aristotle’s thoughts on design came up in a book I was reading and I decided that if Mozart can design a website then so could Aristotle. Those thoughts centre on the achievement of two levels of perfection: first and second. First it must look good; Second it must work. Crucially second perfection is considered the higher level with first level alone being virtually worthless.
My father and indeed grand-father used to insist on putting water in a teapot and testing it before buying. How it felt in his hand, how well it poured and whether it would drip on the table were what concerned him……. Hardly surprising then that when, as a child, I saw a colourful, zany looking teapot at a craft fair I failed to resist the temptation to ask the maker ‘how well does it pour?’. ‘It isn’t meant to work’ came the reply ‘it is just a design idea’. Opening my mouth long enough to put my other foot in I said ’so it isn’t a teapot at all then’……
Apply the test to your website: Is the weight balanced when you lift it? Does it burn your fingers? How well does it pour? Does it drip? …. What really makes a good teapot?
How you translate these questions into web related language will depend on the business you are involved in. If your website fails too many of these tests, no matter how good it looks, then perhaps you need to take an axe to it. (see part II)