Tag: anthropomorphism and design

dog and roomba
anthropomorphism and design

#9: Be Aware of the Ecosystem You’re Invading

Part 9 in the 11 part series Anthropomorphism and Design. With most products, one wouldn’t normally worry about the environment that it enters. However, anthropomorphic products inevitably elicit responses from others, even…

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voodoo knife block
anthropomorphism and design

Rule #8: Use Human Ethics

Part 8 of the 11 part series Anthropomorphism and Design.  Anthropomorphic products blur the boundaries between products and people. Ethical norms for people don’t usually apply to products and vice versa. For…

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clippy suicide
anthropomorphism and design

Rule #7: Respect Social Standards

Anthropomorphic products enter the human social space. Humans have the most complex social behavior of any organism on Earth. Anyone or anything trying to join in should be careful to do it right.

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robot school teacher
anthropomorphism and design

Rule #6: Meet People’s Expectations

For past entries and an introduction to the 11 Golden Rules of Anthropomorphism and Design, click here.  People expect many things from each other: Expect them to say hi in the morning;…

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aibo dog
anthropomorphism and design

Rule #5: Consider Zoomorphism as an Alternative

For past entries and an introduction to the 11 Golden Rules of Anthropomorphism and Design, click here.  When a product imitates animal behavior, the strict social rules governing anthropomorphic products don’t apply.…

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senseo coffee maker
anthropomorphism and design

Rule #3: Keep it ASS: Abstract, Simple and Subtle

For past entries and an introduction to the 11 Golden Rules of Anthropomorphism and Design, click here.  Making good use of anthropomorphism isn’t easy. As you’ve probably already noticed, people may dislike…

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gherkin london
anthropomorphism and design

Rule #1: Any Association that Can be Made, Will be Made

For other entries and an introduction to the 11 Golden Rules of Anthropomorphism and Design, click here. 

People have evolutionarily built-in mechanisms that help us to recognize the human face and body, and what gender, race and mood those faces and bodies are projecting. We’re so good at recognizing each other, we do it even when it’s not applicable. When we look at animals, machines, and random objects we infer characteristics that aren’t there. Especially when a product was intended to have certain human qualities, it’s easy to imagine even more. Since designers can create anthropomorphic products without even realizing it, it’s better to design these characteristics intentionally.

London’s Swiss Re, aka The Gherkin, is a famous example of a building that looks like something more than an innocent suite of offices. Click through for more examples of unintentional anthropomorphizing.

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