C Y Gopinath is a graphic designer, writer, composer, film-maker and cook. His first app, Calcuta, redesigns the traditional calculator using science, research and creativity. His first novel, The Book of Answers, was shortlisted for 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize for Best Fiction. He lives in Bangkok, where he dreams up devilish ideas to subvert traditional thinking, all in the hope of making the world a better place for people of goodwill.
What would a page look like if it had no designer? This odd question occurred to me in the 1980s, while overseeing the transition from lead-based typesetting to phototypesetting of an Indian newspaper. The Patriot’s distinctive design seemed to emerge, not from a designer, but the tactile interaction between lead and the illiterate villager who assembled the pages.
This article examines how design has changed as materials have evolved, and underlines how the need for deliberate design is greater than it has ever been.
They’re probably the most familiar interfaces on the planet: the numeric keypads on our mobile phones and calculators. Yet very few notice that the keypads’ design has remained unchanged for nearly half a century in the face of evolving global design norms and conventions.
Even fewer users notice another startling design feature: the phone’s keypad is the inverted version of the calculator’s. This article explores the roots of this disparity and proposes a better solution. We will discuss how to simplify and adapt a traditional numeric interface to a minimalist design norm by taking advantage of modern touch-driven modes of human–mobile interaction.