Cave people and iPods: Why we need to change our design approach

Prof. Steve Gill discusses the design challenges faced by those who wish to develop products properly suited to the illogical imperfect beings each of us are.


We live in a world of ubiquitous computing. Computers are in our cameras, iPods, ovens, washing machines, our children's toys and even in their birthday cards. The phones in our pockets today have millions of times the memory of the computer in the Apollo lunar capsules. Yet many of these computer embedded products are deeply unsatisfactory. Part of the reason is that to all intents and purposes we are cave people with senses and emotions evolved to interact with the physical world in complex and overlapping ways. Designers and others who fail to appreciate that fact risk creating annoying and sometimes literally deadly devices.

In this talk I will be discussing the design challenges faced by those who wish to develop products properly suited to the illogiocal imperfect beings each of us are.

Steve's bio

Prof. Steve Gill is a product designer with 18 years experience in industry and academia. He has designed or product managed around 50 products to market and has published 35+ academic journal and conference papers. He is currently co-writing a book with Prof. Alan Dix of University of Lancaster.

Steve heads the Programme for Advanced Interactive Prototype Research (PAIPR) team developing new methods for the design development of information appliances such as mobile phones and medical devices. PAIPR has worked closely with academic partners such as the University of Lancaster and those in blue chip industry such as Sony-Ericsson. PAIPR was recently involved in a major project investigating the nature of physical interaction and its effects on design with the help of a �270K Research Council grant

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