Design Principle 5: Pay Attention to Details

Many problems crop up during usage of a product or service when designers fail to pay sufficient attention to details during the design and specification stage.

A classic example of this the case of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. She was the longest and beautiful suspension bridge in the world. Even during its construction engineers did notice the unusual vibrations the bridge made but they choose to ignore the inherent resonance problem. As a result this beautiful bridge collapsed within four months of its grand inauguration. This beautiful bridge would have continued its existence only if the designers had paid sufficient attention to details.

Examples of such unmindful behavior of designers abound.

For instance, a vertical sea water pump created problems for four years. Here again engineers overlooked the resonant frequency of the stool on which the motor was placed. They also overlooked the critical L/d ratio of a sleeve bearing that generated a broad spectrum of frequencies through rubbing that excited the resonant frequency.

Similarly, in another case the internal cooling fan of a large motor was so badly designed and constructed that it broke twice in a year. The engineer simply failed to take care of the aerodynamics of the cooling fan.

We also find such cases in products and services that we use daily. The humble electric kettle that I have in my hotel room is one such product. The base hasn’t been designed well enough. It is so unstable that it might cause an unfortunate accident. And the thermostat does not work. Shoddy design – I must say.

To say the least design is a work of love. Care must go into every detail. And the beauty of detailing comes out in the specifications and construction of the product.

Then only a product or a service is a pleasure to use.


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