Slanty Design

30 Jan 2008 - 12:25am
6 years ago
7 replies
1115 reads
Jeff Howard
2004

Slanty design describes solutions that purposely reduce aspects of
functionality or usability. It's employed when the system must
address wider goals than the user might have, when, say, they wish to
do something that in the grander scheme of things is less than
desirable. Think of it as an anti-affordance.

http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/10/29/slanty-design/

Examples of "Slanty Design" include:
- Google's initial omission of the Delete Button in Gmail
- Angled surfaces that prevent people from leaving trash on them
- Cone-shaped cups that discourages users from leaving them on the table
- Baggage carousel designed with a sloping floor to keep the area clear

This technique resonates through many of the posts on Dan Lockton's
Architectures of Control weblog. It's one of many ways to implicitly
guide the behavior of users and from that point of view it helps
inform the practice of interaction design--often by highlighting
cautionary tales.

Many of the examples on the site are analog in nature, but there are
plenty of digital examples to browse through as well. I've pulled out
some of the most interesting below.

// jeff

ANALOG EXAMPLES

Architecture as Crime Control
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/10/18/review-architecture-
as-crime-control-by-neal-katyal/

Deliberately Creating Worry
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/06/15/deliberately-
creating-worry/

Product Psychology to Discourage Anti-Social Behaviour
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/10/20/product-psychology-
to-discourage-anti-social-behaviour/

Traffic Management
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/12/22/some-more-
architectures-of-control-for-traffic-management/

Anti-Public Seating Roundup
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/07/24/anti-public-seating-
roundup/

Controlling Shoppers
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/05/12/controlling-shoppers/

DIGITAL EXAMPLES

Changing Behaviour: Water Meter Taps
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/06/28/changing-behaviour-
water-meter-taps/

Digital Control Round-up
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/12/30/digital-control-
round-up/

Epson Messes Up My Day
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/10/21/epson-messes-up-my-day/

Do You Really Need to Print That?
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/11/06/do-you-really-need-
to-print-that/

Dishonourable Discharge?
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/08/07/dishonourable-
discharge/

Making Energy Use Visible
http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/07/24/making-energy-use-
visible/

Comments

30 Jan 2008 - 9:04am
White, Jeff
2007

Thanks Jeff. I was actually looking through Lockton's site last night.
It's interesting stuff, for sure.

I came across another example of slanty design recently, spurred on by
an upcoming trip to Switzerland - in "porta-johns", they use a certain
type of blue light instead of traditional light bulbs. It was designed
to discourage the use of heroin - the blue light makes it impossible
for a drug user to see their veins, which prevents them from using
needles. The swiss culture is full of design examples similar to this
one.

Jeff

On Jan 30, 2008 12:25 AM, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:
> Slanty design describes solutions that purposely reduce aspects of
> functionality or usability. It's employed when the system must
> address wider goals than the user might have, when, say, they wish to
> do something that in the grander scheme of things is less than
> desirable. Think of it as an anti-affordance.
>
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/10/29/slanty-design/
>
> Examples of "Slanty Design" include:
> - Google's initial omission of the Delete Button in Gmail
> - Angled surfaces that prevents people from leaving trash on them
> - Cone-shaped cups that discourages users from leaving them on the table
> - Baggage carousel with a sloping floor to keep the area clear
>
> This technique resonates through many of the posts on Dan Lockton's
> Architectures of Control weblog. It's one of many ways to implicitly
> guide the behavior of users and from that point of view it helps
> inform the practice of interaction design--often by highlighting
> cautionary tales.
>
> Many of the examples on the site are analog in nature, but there are
> plenty of digital examples to browse through as well. I've pulled out
> some of the most interesting below.
>
> // jeff
>
>
> ANALOG EXAMPLES
>
> Architecture as Crime Control
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/10/18/review-architecture-
> as-crime-control-by-neal-katyal/
>
> Deliberately Creating Worry
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/06/15/deliberately-
> creating-worry/
>
> Product Psychology to Discourage Anti-Social Behaviour
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/10/20/product-psychology-
> to-discourage-anti-social-behaviour/
>
> Traffic Management
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/12/22/some-more-
> architectures-of-control-for-traffic-management/
>
> Anti-Public Seating Roundup
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/07/24/anti-public-seating-
> roundup/
>
> Controlling Shoppers
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/05/12/controlling-shoppers/
>
>
>
> DIGITAL EXAMPLES
>
> Changing Behaviour: Water Meter Taps
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/06/28/changing-behaviour-
> water-meter-taps/
>
> Digital Control Round-up
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/12/30/digital-control-
> round-up/
>
> Epson Messes Up My Day
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/10/21/epson-messes-up-my-day/
>
> Do You Really Need to Print That?
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/11/06/do-you-really-need-
> to-print-that/
>
> Dishonourable Discharge?
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/08/07/dishonourable-
> discharge/
>
> Making Energy Use Visible
> http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/07/24/making-energy-use-
> visible/
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

30 Jan 2008 - 9:43am
Chauncey Wilson
2007

Russ Beale wrote a good article on slanty design in Communications of the ACM.

Beale, R. 2007. Slanty design. Commun. ACM 50, 1 (Jan. 2007), 21-24.

Beale (p. 24) list 5 design steps for achieving slanty designs (these
are quoted from a bulleted list in the article).

"Identify user goals;

Identify user non-goals—the things users don't
want to be able to do easily (such as deleting all
their files);

Identify wider goals being pursued by other
stakeholders, including where they conflict with
individual goals;

Follow a user-centered design process to create a
system with high usability for user goals and high
anti-usability for user non-goals; and

Resolve the conflicts between wider issues and
individual goals, and where the wider issues win
out ensure that the design meets these needs."

Slanty design is a part of public kiosk and vending machine design.
For example, if you are designing a kiosk for sending mail, you might
want to consider how to design the kiosk so people don't put really
heavy things like children or large shopping bags on the scale or keep
people from squirting glue into the various slots.

Chauncey

On Jan 30, 2008 9:04 AM, Jeff White <jwhite31 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks Jeff. I was actually looking through Lockton's site last night.
> It's interesting stuff, for sure.
>
> I came across another example of slanty design recently, spurred on by
> an upcoming trip to Switzerland - in "porta-johns", they use a certain
> type of blue light instead of traditional light bulbs. It was designed
> to discourage the use of heroin - the blue light makes it impossible
> for a drug user to see their veins, which prevents them from using
> needles. The swiss culture is full of design examples similar to this
> one.
>
> Jeff
>
>
> On Jan 30, 2008 12:25 AM, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:
> > Slanty design describes solutions that purposely reduce aspects of
> > functionality or usability. It's employed when the system must
> > address wider goals than the user might have, when, say, they wish to
> > do something that in the grander scheme of things is less than
> > desirable. Think of it as an anti-affordance.
> >
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/10/29/slanty-design/
> >
> > Examples of "Slanty Design" include:
> > - Google's initial omission of the Delete Button in Gmail
> > - Angled surfaces that prevents people from leaving trash on them
> > - Cone-shaped cups that discourages users from leaving them on the table
> > - Baggage carousel with a sloping floor to keep the area clear
> >
> > This technique resonates through many of the posts on Dan Lockton's
> > Architectures of Control weblog. It's one of many ways to implicitly
> > guide the behavior of users and from that point of view it helps
> > inform the practice of interaction design--often by highlighting
> > cautionary tales.
> >
> > Many of the examples on the site are analog in nature, but there are
> > plenty of digital examples to browse through as well. I've pulled out
> > some of the most interesting below.
> >
> > // jeff
> >
> >
> > ANALOG EXAMPLES
> >
> > Architecture as Crime Control
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/10/18/review-architecture-
> > as-crime-control-by-neal-katyal/
> >
> > Deliberately Creating Worry
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/06/15/deliberately-
> > creating-worry/
> >
> > Product Psychology to Discourage Anti-Social Behaviour
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/10/20/product-psychology-
> > to-discourage-anti-social-behaviour/
> >
> > Traffic Management
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/12/22/some-more-
> > architectures-of-control-for-traffic-management/
> >
> > Anti-Public Seating Roundup
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/07/24/anti-public-seating-
> > roundup/
> >
> > Controlling Shoppers
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/05/12/controlling-shoppers/
> >
> >
> >
> > DIGITAL EXAMPLES
> >
> > Changing Behaviour: Water Meter Taps
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/06/28/changing-behaviour-
> > water-meter-taps/
> >
> > Digital Control Round-up
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/12/30/digital-control-
> > round-up/
> >
> > Epson Messes Up My Day
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/10/21/epson-messes-up-my-day/
> >
> > Do You Really Need to Print That?
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/11/06/do-you-really-need-
> > to-print-that/
> >
> > Dishonourable Discharge?
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/08/07/dishonourable-
> > discharge/
> >
> > Making Energy Use Visible
> > http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2007/07/24/making-energy-use-
> > visible/
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> > February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> > Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

30 Jan 2008 - 9:32am
Dan Lockton
2008

Here are similar blue lights used in some public toilets in Edinburgh:

http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/10/28/a-vein-attempt/

P.S. My first post on here; I've been reading some of the
discussions for a while, but felt I ought to sign up and contribute!
The blog is somewhat disorganized at present and there's a bit of a
backlog of examples/discussions I need to post, but I hope to have it
up to speed again in due course.

'Anti-affordance' might also be thought of as a 'disaffordance'
(http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/2006/10/22/disaffordances-and-engineering-obedience/
).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25282

30 Jan 2008 - 10:39am
Billy Cox
2007

In the case of the sloped floor around the baggage carousel, does slanty
design really help users to avoid a non-goal, or is it just a utilitarian
measure to make sure that some users' goal seeking does not unnecessarily
impede the goal seeking of other users?

I used gmail early on and having delete functionality buried in a drop down
was a pain. There are other reasons for deleting unwanted emails that have
nothing to do with storage scarcity.

30 Jan 2008 - 10:24am
Gloria Petron
2007

I love this type of stuff. If you've a moment, you might like to check out a
photographic example I've captured of my office's water cooler, which must
be slanty design. You push one blue button for cold water, and two red
buttons for hot. The problem is, there are no cues other than the existence
of the 2 red buttons themselves to suggest that they must be pushed
simultaneously. I suspect this must have been deliberately designed to slow
down the process of obtaining water that's scalding hot...but instead, the
object's interface ends up feeling somehow unfinished.

...I have yet to think of a better alternative.

http://glpetron.typepad.com/photos/i_dont_take_orders_from_s/water_cooler.html

30 Jan 2008 - 8:20pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Hi Billy,

In Russell Beale's original paper about slanty design (which was the
basis for Lockton's post) he hypothesized about the rationale for the
missing delete button:

> Google uses your body of email to mine
> for information it uses to target the ads it delivers
> to generate revenue; indeed, deleting it would be
> detrimental to the service.

If effect he's saying that omitting the delete button wasn't
beacuse they thought people wouldn't need it, but because using it
would directly affect Google's bottom line.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25282

31 Jan 2008 - 5:08am
Lucy Buykx
2007

Thank you Gloria for solving the mystery of red buttons on a water
cooler. I have never figured out how to get hot water from them :D

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25282

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