Who is in the driving seat?
You walked into a restaurant and took a look at the menu. You can decide which dish to order, or whether you want to order or not, but you can’t decide what should be put on the menu. Reasons like the dishes don’t suit your appetite, the price is too expensive, or the ingredients are not organic can make you put down the menu and leave. However, you can’t rush into the kitchen and squat at the chef’s collar, asking him or her to cook according to your taste. Of course, if you are willing to pay for the entire kitchen, that will be a different story. The relationship between designers and consumers is the same as the chef and the food lover.
Designers satisfy and create consumers’ desires while consumers demand and are also controlled by their demands. Designers’ designs are limited by consumers’ needs and wants. However, designers also constrain consumers by satisfying needs and wants. On one hand, consumers can choose to reject purchasing and eliminate designs and commodities with the market mechanism. On the other hand, designers decide what products consumers can get, limiting the options they can choose, regardless of the number of options.
Designers seem to be in a dominant position, but designers must still focus on consumers and users, correctly predicting consumers’ demands and behavior. Otherwise, consumers won’t buy it easily. Designers use design to introduce new possibilities to people, changing human lifestyles and habits. In the process of designing, producing and consuming, designers and consumers interact and influence each other.
Which directs the design? Consumers may not accept the future that designers foresaw, and the aesthetics and sense of beauty of the designers may not be appreciated by consumers. To tell whether the designer or the consumer decide the direction of design is never just the tug of war between providing functional tools and sparing no efforts to woo consumers.