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I share your concern for design (a lot). I think about and value good design. One of my major gripes is the software put out by OneTouch to download and analyze glucose data. I find it is so clunky it's almost unusable. The new Dexcom CGMS seems to be moving in the right direction, though.

But to play devil's advocate a little, I not sure I'd like too many of the (finite) resources to be poured into glossy packaging. Functional improvements? Definately. Slick marketing packaging to make me feel better about my medical paraphernalia? No thanks. I'd much rather feel their resources were being put to better use: For example: R&D into new technologies (or even a cure?) or improving the function/user interaction with current technologies.

I appreciate your desire to have the focus of finite resources going into new technologies, better function and user interface. But I don't think this is an "either/or" proposition: good design OR good technology. Someone had to design the packaging we are getting today anyway. They made aesthetic choices about how to convey the information that the packaging had to convey. They actually designed it. What I'm suggesting is a simple design exercise not more money being spent on on slick marketing packaging. I'm talking about thinking about what has to be designed anyway, and doing it with informed consideration about what the design is communicating to the user and consumer. Because design ALWAYS communicates, regardless of resources or focus. If they are saying "we don't care about packaging, we're focusing on technology", that says to me that they aren't focusing on the life of the diabetic consumer. Maybe that's not their job, but making stuff more comfortable or appealing or "usable" sure wouldn't hurt. Because it's not just about the technology or insulin delivery system or blood glucose monitoring system. With diabetes, it's about life, 24/7.

I agree with you that there should be more focus on the human interaction/interface with the current technologies that exist. And I would posit that graphics, packaging and communication are a part of that interface. Great packaging, intelligent and respectful design doesn't have to cost more. It can actually cost less and in the end, may even increase people's interaction with the product, which in our case as diabetics, is a good thing. Feeling less "sick" when a person is using the stuff we have to use, might make them more likely to do what "they are supposed to do". Or maybe not. But why not make it more friendly, just because? What get's lost by doing that?

Regardless, I believe good design isn't suprefluous or expensive or time consuming to make. It's an approach, not an added expense. It's understanding that product should consider the consumer's needs and conform to them. Not the other way around. Good design can be the difference between choosing one product over another and done right, it can make the lives of the people who use it better. Even if better means feeling better about the medical paraphenalia we have to use.

There, I'll get off my soapbox now.

And mucho thanks for the "devil's advocacy". I really appreciate your thoughts and willingness to discuss.

Good points throughout. And I agree with you throughout, though perhaps not with as much fervor (which is strange, 'cause I'm often "the guy on a soap box").

And I agree that design is a frame of mind, a perspective that (unfortunately) not everyone seems to share. When a company like Apple puts so much effort into design and (shock, shock) people love it, we can only hope that other companies take notice and start thinking more about how the end-consumer uses their products (and hopefully this will spill over to the diabetes management industry as well).

Here's a good article related to quality in software, with a particularly good quote:
"design adds value faster than it adds costs."

Joel Spolsky's "Hitting the High Notes".

Excellent post, Rup. Again. I like the way you think.

I can't help noticing that Novo-Nordisk are a Danish company. For some reason or other, the Danes are very good at design; Lindberg (www.lindberg.com) make superb spectacle frames; Bang & Olufsen's (www.bang-olufsen.com) sound systems are excellent.

Danish design (I've had the pleasure of living there for a couple of years.) is all about simplicity and clean lines. Nothing garish. It may be bright but it won't hurt the eyes. It also tends to be functional, no frippery.

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