Designing Away From Complexity

Here at AC4D we are learning a process of creative problem solving we know as design.  The problems we use this process on can be large and incredibly complex, such as the design of medical records.  These problems can also be those we face everyday, such as the design of household appliances.

Over the course of the next 2 months I’ll be conducting a redesign of an everyday household object – the thermostat.  In particular I’ll be looking at the Honeywell Prestige 2.0 model programmable thermostat to use as my baseline.

The first step in the redesign is to understand the existing model. What is it trying to accomplish?  What are its primary and secondary functions?  One tool that we can use to add clarity to this process is a concept model.  The goal of a concept model is to visually map all the functionality of a system; it gives us a flexible frame we can use to view the hierarchy and relationships that exist.

Below you can see the existing system for the Honeywell model:

The title of this post is “Designing Away From Complexity”, hopefully the reason for that is apparent from the model above. It’s my generally philosophy that designs should be simple; there is a need for complexity in this world, a thermostat should not be and example of this.

Below is my newly designed model of the above system:

I’ve broken down the system to what I see as the minimum functionality that a thermostat should have.

If you have any thoughts or questions about this project feel free to email me at: Jacob.rader@AC4D.com

– jacob