We like pretty

I grew up in a country, and in a time, where products were mostly designed for utility, and how they looked was secondary. In 1980s Bombay, we used to fetishize images of cars and gadgets that we glimpsed on the pages of foreign magazines. Even in the 1990s and early 2000s companies like Nokia or Dell would produce a utilitarian model for the mass and a “posh” model for those who would pay more. In the late 1990s, when I started traveling, I often heard from people that companies like Apple would never succeed in Asia, as the price point is too high, and most audiences did not care for the design. 

The other day I was in Phnom Penh, near Soriya Mall and I spotted a shop selling a slick plastic cases - not for phones - but for household cooking gas cylinders!!.  

Shape of things

I met such a beverage holder. Note the depression on the surface. It is there by design to aid the grip. It feels natural and enjoyable to hold it this way. I remembered some words from a book on a well known American technology man. He used to say that implements should be designed in such a way that they invite users to use them.

Information design for a hostel or hotel website

You know, it is easy to get the simple things wrong. You see so many hotels and hostel website with so little information on how to get there, what is around and general information for the traveler. It is a such a joy to see some one get it right. I was looking to find a place to stay in Jakarta and I found the Six Degrees Hostel. I was impressed by their website at http://jakarta-backpackers-hostel.com/.

Here is a screen shot of the page that offers directions to the hotel. I like the way they have a downloadable PDF that one can print. The PDF file has instructions in local language for the taxi. http://jakarta-backpackers-hostel.com/getting

Here is another page with information for travellers. I like the part where they discuss things to see and do in the neighbourhood.

http://jakarta-backpackers-hostel.com/useful_info

Besides the website, the Six Degrees is a pleasant and affordable place to stay. There is a also a public swimming pool next doors.

I spent some time at the Bokoel Koffie near this hostel. This neighbourhood has convinced me to move my secret hiding place from Saigon to Jakarta. The other reason being that Indonesian visa takes only half a page compared to Vietnamese visa  reducing my passport renewal trips.