Good design should be both usable and socially relevant

I totally agree with Lynda Relph-Knight (Comment, DW 12 March), regarding the importance of usability and social relevance when judging design.

Having been involved in the practice of people-centred design for more than 25 years now, I am still really amazed at the debates that sometimes kick off in design projects.

There are always those who will attempt to refute, or possibly just ignore, even the most conclusive of evidence from rigorous user-research if the implications would inconveniently compromise the aesthetic or conceptual purity to which they aspire.

OK, I accept that there are a few sectors in which a purist approach is appropriate, but not those involving mainstream products and services, and this is where design awards should focus.

Usable and socially relevant design need not be unattractive, but attractive design should be usable and socially relevant.

Gary Davis, Davis Associates,

Potters Bar EN6 2JD

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