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Designing for the Extremes

For Christmas my parents gave me an Apple TV. I have spent some time playing with it and trying out a free month of Netflix streaming. Last night I was surfing though all the documentary titles and noticed one that peaked my interest…



Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It’s about the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability.

Shortly into the film an interview is taking place with Dan Formosa of Smart Design. While talking about design he mentions that when talking to consumer goods companies he really could care less about their largest user demographic. He is more concerned with the extremes… What are the most extreme user cases. He notes that if they focus design on these groups the middle will take care of itself.

This got me to thinking are we pushing the boundaries of social mediums/interactions? Should we be looking not to design our online presence to please the masses but to reach out and touch the fringe? If we do this will it still meet the needs of the everyday interactions we currently receive?

I am interested to hear your thoughts on:

  1. How can we better design the online experience for healthcare information/interaction? 
  2. Are we prone to do the same thing everyone else is doing or are we doing a good job of expanding on other’s ideas?

– Reed

Author Info

Reed Smith