Design and user interface guru Don Norman writes in a recent column about how we rush to fill empty spaces with new technology, when sometimes those spaces are better left unfilled. Excerpt:
Holes, gaps, and voids are essential to civilized life. They give us respite from the press of modern civilization, returning us to ourselves, with our own thoughts and our own resources. It is the space between things that allows us to be at peace with the world, to be in silence, to be undisturbed. Many things need to be done by people, by us. Doing gives a sense of accomplishment, of participation, of belonging, Doing, thinking, dreaming: all are needs best left unfilled by products and designs.
We need more unmet needs, not less. How many times do the never-ending ethnographic studies coupled with ever-eager design groups lead to unwanted, unnecessary, overburdening, and environmentally insensitive products? How many times are these unmet needs best left unmet? Why must we rush to fill the essential voids in our lives?