Why We Made A Habit Tracker
…or how we used Dieter Rams’ product checklist
A lot of us are familiar with Dieter Rams’ 10 principles of good design but what’s less familiar is his product checklist of 15 questions. The checklist invites makers to invest their energy in the best product possible — if any product at all. I’ll share what I believe are the top 3 and our perspective on them in relation to our Kickstarter. I’ll list his full checklist in the footer of this post since it’s worthy of a good mental download. 😉
Is the product that we are designing really necessary? Are there not already other, similar, tried and tested appliances that people have got used to and are good and functional? Is innovation in this instance really necessary?
Dieter Rams’ Question 2 of 15
The Mighty Tiny Win is not necessary. I consider food necessary, water necessary; however, I consider our product helpful. I believe if a product will help people at no cost or extremely limited cost to the environment — it could be considered to be made.
There are products similar in function (habit tracking phone apps) but not in form. I believe that the form makes all the difference here. Early on in the design process, we tested the apps and rough prototypes of our product amongst ourselves and friends. We found that it was compelling to have the reminder of your hopeful habit exposed — as a reminder that you’re trying to focus on “X”, as a reminder that you did “X” 5 days in a row already. This encouraged us to decide that form innovation was necessary.
Will it really enrich people’s lives or does it just appeal to their covetousness, possessiveness or ideas of status? Or does it wake desire because it is offering something new?
Dieter Rams’ Question 3 of 15
Oh how it will really enrich people’s lives! Since I’ve been using it I have added the following habits into my daily flow: 20 push ups daily, 25 sit ups daily, 5 pull ups daily, 5 minute meditation daily, 5am wake up, fully shift from coffee to tea, and the list goes on. I feel more in control. I feel more mindful in how I invest my time. My wife has added daily meditation to her flow. My brother has added daily exercise routines as well as some habits related to his new role as a father (like prepping baby bottles for overnight feeding).
Is it conceived for the short- or long-term, does it just help increase the speed of the cycle of throwaway goods or does it help slow it down?
Dieter Rams’ Question 4 of 15
Long term! Short term is unacceptable for us. We chose materials that’ll last: oak, walnut and brass. We’re also using finishes for the oak and walnut that are non-toxic. The three materials will outlast the owner and could be passed on to the next generation in order to remind them that a life well lived is a focused and intentional one.
If you think The Mighty Tiny Win meets your criteria, pre-order one over here, just 4 days left on Kickstarter.
Dieter Rams’ 15 Questions
- The first question is not if one should be designing something but how.
- Is the product that we are designing really necessary? Are there not already other, similar, tried and tested appliances that people have got used to and are good and functional? Is innovation in this instance really necessary?
- Will it really enrich people’s lives or does it just appeal to their covetousness, possessiveness or ideas of status? Or does it wake desire because it is offering something new?
- Is it conceived for the short- or long-term, does it just help increase the speed of the cycle of throwaway goods or does it help slow it down?
- Can it be simply repaired or does it rely on an expensive customer service facility? Can it in fact be repaired at all or is the whole appliance rendered redundant when just one part of it breaks?
- Does it exhibit fashionable and therefore aesthetically short-lived design elements?
- Does it help people or incapacitate them? Does it make them more free or more dependent?
- Is it so accomplished and perfect that it perhaps incapacitates or humiliates you?
- Which previous human activity does it replace and can that really be called progress?
- What possibilities for change, what scope does the product offer people?
- Can the product be used in other, perhaps playful, ways?
- Does the product really offer convenience or does it encourage passivity?
- What does the expected improvement look like in a broader context?
- Does it make an action or activity on the whole more complicated or simpler, is it easy to operate or do you have to learn how to use it?
- Does it arouse curiosity and the imagination? Does it encourage desire to use it, understand it and even to change it?