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Re: Looking for a word for a design concept..

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  • Keith Braithwaite
    ... one. ... Michael, Are you talking about the property that the Motie technology has in the Niven+Pournelle books, that every component does more than one
    Message 1 of 23 , Oct 2, 2005
      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Michael Feathers
      <mfeathers@m...> wrote:
      >
      > There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for it.
      > Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help create
      one.
      >
      > Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with mechanisms that
      > serve more than one purpose in a design and when we use them our design
      > can be simpler and more economical.

      Michael,
      Are you talking about the property that the "Motie" technology has in
      the Niven+Pournelle books, that every component does more than one
      job? That's an extreme.

      Or, there's the way that modern motorcars and aircraft are sort of
      "all one thing". In the most advanced monocoque car designs now some
      of the mechanical strength of the vehicle shell comes from the glass
      in the windows. This in contrast to something like a Land Rover, which
      is still a chassis with components (including separate body panels)
      bolted onto it. Monocoques are lighter, cheaper, easier to
      manufacture, but the move to once-piece vehicles isn't an unalloyed
      advance.

      The British Army has long prefered Land Rovers over more modern
      vehicles because they are much easier to maintain and repair. The
      Moties needed an sub-species specialised for engineering to keep their
      model working.

      It's very hard to write off a Land Rover, but very easy to write off a
      monocoque car. Similarly, when monocoque aircraft get slightly damaged
      they have a tendency to completely disintergrate.

      Or then there's the way that the pressure of the propellants inside an
      Atlas rocket gives the skin of the vehicle its required stiffness.

      Or, consider than in almost all modern motorcycles the engine and
      gearbox are a single component, and that component is load-bearing
      within the frame. Contrast this with the "pre-unit" construction that
      was almost universal into the 1960's, with the engine (and in earlier
      bikes, also a separate gearbox) mounted a stand-alone component
      within a cradle.

      I suspect that the design concept you are looking for is something to
      do with "maturity".

      Keith
    • David Bogus
      ... Gung-Ho Design While a mistranslation from Chinese, its meaning in English originally was work together or strive for harmony. On some cars the interior
      Message 2 of 23 , Oct 2, 2005
        > > There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for it.
        > > Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help create
        > one.
        > >
        > > Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with mechanisms that
        > > serve more than one purpose in a design and when we use them our design
        > > can be simpler and more economical.

        Gung-Ho Design

        While a mistranslation from Chinese, its meaning in English originally
        was work together or strive for harmony.

        On some cars the interior door lock and handle are placed so that
        unlocking the door directs you to the handle. The set of actions that
        you perform is easy since the controls are in harmony with each other,
        producing synergy.

        --
        Dave's Definitions: Morning, is after I've slept for more than four
        hours. Lunch is the second meal of the day no matter the hour of
        consumption.
      • Chris Wheeler
        ... I can t find a word, but for some reason the theory of least astonishment , or least surprise
        Message 3 of 23 , Oct 2, 2005
          >
          > There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for it.
          > Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help create one.
          >
          > Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with mechanisms that
          > serve more than one purpose in a design and when we use them our design
          > can be simpler and more economical.
          >


          I can't find a word, but for some reason the theory of least
          astonishment<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_least_astonishment>,
          or least surprise popped into my head. I've used designs that obey that
          principle and they evoke the same type of 'aaaahhh, that's sweet' response
          that you were talking about, because they simplify things by doing more than
          what was expected.

          Chris.
          --
          Chris Wheeler
          www.agilelectric.com <http://www.agilelectric.com>
          coach, programmer & practitioner


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ron Jeffries
          ... I don t know a name for it. I often say cool! or sweet! . Those aren t very communicative, other than in context ... Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com
          Message 4 of 23 , Oct 2, 2005
            On Sunday, October 2, 2005, at 8:51:46 AM, Michael Feathers wrote:

            > Sometimes this is called "elegance" at other times it is just something
            > that makes you go "aahhhhh, that's sweet" when you notice it, but I
            > don't know that there is a name for it.

            > I know that Christopher Alexander speaks of what he calls 'the quality
            > without a name' but I think that what I'm describing is a little
            > narrower. Or not. Anyone have any ideas?

            I don't know a name for it. I often say "cool!" or "sweet!". Those
            aren't very communicative, other than in context ...

            Ron Jeffries
            www.XProgramming.com
            Ron Jeffries, speaking for Boskone ... Out.
          • Dave Rooney
            ... Although the literal translation isn t correct, how about fahrvergnugen ? I think it was intended to embody the same feeling. Dave Rooney Mayford
            Message 5 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
              Michael Feathers wrote:

              >There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for it.
              >Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help create one.
              >
              >Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with mechanisms that
              >serve more than one purpose in a design and when we use them our design
              >can be simpler and more economical.
              >
              >One example is a type of hair dryer that I run into often. Hair dryers
              >need to have a way to be turned on and off and it's great to be able to
              >hang them up in a bathroom so that we don't shock ourselves. The
              >conventional way to handle this is to create a wall mount and create an
              >on/off switch. Users can flip off the switch when they are done, and
              >then hang up the dryer.
              >
              >Now, that works, and it is good solid design, but there is this other
              >way that you can do it. You can design the switch so that the act of
              >taking the dryer off the hook turns it on and the act of hanging up the
              >dryer turns it off. I think that example nails the concept that I want
              >a name for.
              >
              >Sometimes this is called "elegance" at other times it is just something
              >that makes you go "aahhhhh, that's sweet" when you notice it, but I
              >don't know that there is a name for it.
              >
              >I know that Christopher Alexander speaks of what he calls 'the quality
              >without a name' but I think that what I'm describing is a little
              >narrower. Or not. Anyone have any ideas?
              >
              >Michael Feathers
              >www.objectmentor.com
              >
              >
              Although the literal translation isn't correct, how about
              "fahrvergnugen"? I think it was intended to embody the same feeling.

              Dave Rooney
              Mayford Technologies
              http://www.mayford.ca
            • Larry Brunelle
              Along with all the other comments, I notice your hair dryer parallels that resource-acquisition thingy in constructors/destructors. Specifically, in this
              Message 6 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
                Along with all the other comments, I notice your hair
                dryer parallels that resource-acquisition thingy in
                constructors/destructors. Specifically, in this case,
                power. Perhaps that suggests a term to someone . . .

                Michael Feathers wrote:
                > There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for it.
                > Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help create one.
                >
                > Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with mechanisms that
                > serve more than one purpose in a design and when we use them our design
                > can be simpler and more economical.
                >
                > One example is a type of hair dryer that I run into often. Hair dryers
                > need to have a way to be turned on and off and it's great to be able to
                > hang them up in a bathroom so that we don't shock ourselves. The
                > conventional way to handle this is to create a wall mount and create an
                > on/off switch. Users can flip off the switch when they are done, and
                > then hang up the dryer.
                >
                > Now, that works, and it is good solid design, but there is this other
                > way that you can do it. You can design the switch so that the act of
                > taking the dryer off the hook turns it on and the act of hanging up the
                > dryer turns it off. I think that example nails the concept that I want
                > a name for.
                >
                > Sometimes this is called "elegance" at other times it is just something
                > that makes you go "aahhhhh, that's sweet" when you notice it, but I
                > don't know that there is a name for it.
                >
                > I know that Christopher Alexander speaks of what he calls 'the quality
                > without a name' but I think that what I'm describing is a little
                > narrower. Or not. Anyone have any ideas?
                >
                > Michael Feathers
                > www.objectmentor.com
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
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                >
                >
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                >
                >
                >
              • Steven J. Owens
                ... How about economy of design or economy of feature ? (parallel to economy of motion ) -- Steven J. Owens puff@darksleep.com I m going to make broad,
                Message 7 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
                  On Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 01:43:13PM -0400, Michael Feathers wrote:
                  > Luiz, that's cool but my first reaction was that it wasn't the same
                  > concept, that what you are describing pulls the user into it, when what
                  > I'm trying to find a word for is this sense of economy.. that one
                  > "thing" solves two or more problems. But, that said, I guess it could
                  > be the same thing.

                  How about "economy of design" or "economy of feature"? (parallel
                  to "economy of motion")

                  --
                  Steven J. Owens
                  puff@...

                  "I'm going to make broad, sweeping generalizations and strong,
                  declarative statements, because otherwise I'll be here all night and
                  this document will be four times longer and much less fun to read.
                  Take it all with a grain of salt." - http://darksleep.com/notablog
                • Michael Feathers
                  ... Bill, thanks for the reference. That definitely looks like something to look into. Michael Feathers www.objectmentor.com
                  Message 8 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
                    William Wake wrote:

                    >On 10/2/05, Michael Feathers <mfeathers@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >>There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for it.
                    >>Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help create one.
                    >>
                    >>Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with mechanisms that
                    >>serve more than one purpose in a design and when we use them our design
                    >>can be simpler and more economical.
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >
                    >Have you seen the TRIZ stuff at all? (I have the book "The Innovation
                    >Algorithm", & there's other stuff online.)
                    >
                    >They have principle 6, which they call Universality: "a. An object can
                    >perform several different functions; therefore, other elements can be
                    >removed." (Almost exactly your words!)
                    >
                    >

                    Bill, thanks for the reference. That definitely looks like something to
                    look into.

                    Michael Feathers
                    www.objectmentor.com
                  • Michael Feathers
                    Luiz, that s cool but my first reaction was that it wasn t the same concept, that what you are describing pulls the user into it, when what I m trying to find
                    Message 9 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
                      Luiz, that's cool but my first reaction was that it wasn't the same
                      concept, that what you are describing pulls the user into it, when what
                      I'm trying to find a word for is this sense of economy.. that one
                      "thing" solves two or more problems. But, that said, I guess it could
                      be the same thing.

                      Michael Feathers
                      www.objectmentor.com

                      Luiz Esmiralha wrote:

                      >Alan Cooper in his "About Face 2.0: The essentials of interaction
                      >design" uses a somewhat similar concept when he states that "Software
                      >should behave like a considerate human" towards its users.
                      >Usually, this "Wow!" reaction happens when the user feels that his
                      >needs were anticipated by the software he's dealing with. He defines
                      >other qualities of considerate software, such as:
                      >
                      >- uses common sense (doesn't send $0.00 paychecks or 1 billion dollar bills),
                      >- provides related information to a specific query (finds the product
                      >you asked for, but offers you a similar for a smaller price),
                      >- is deferential to the user (doesn't stop the user from choosing
                      >whatever course of action he pleases, but warns him of consequences
                      >instead)
                      >
                      >Basically, this "Wow!" feeling comes from a sensation of power and
                      >pleasure the user experiences when the software does what he wants it
                      >to do, not what the software wants to do.
                      >
                      >Maybe you could use the same concept in a different perspective, like
                      >"Considerate Design"?
                      >
                      >
                    • Michael Feathers
                      ... It s funny. What you describe is the typical one I see too. I was just staying at a hotel for SD East last week that had the auto-on feature. I wasn t
                      Message 10 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
                        Keith Ray wrote:

                        >>Personally, I'd classify a hairdryer that starts blowing hot air
                        >>into my
                        >>face before I switch it on as dangerous.
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >
                        >I've seen a hotel hair drier that had an on/off switch, but hanging
                        >it up on its hook on the wall also turned it off. It did not turn on
                        >automatically. It was a good design for its purpose.
                        >
                        >
                        It's funny. What you describe is the typical one I see too. I was just
                        staying at a hotel for SD East last week that had the "auto-on"
                        feature. I wasn't sure I liked it.

                        Michael Feathers
                        www.objectmentor.com
                      • Michael Feathers
                        ... I think I only read one of those. Weren t moties the ones that felt that every problem had a solution? Poor buggers :-) ... Thanks, those are great
                        Message 11 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
                          Keith Braithwaite wrote:

                          >--- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Michael Feathers
                          ><mfeathers@m...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          >>There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for it.
                          >>Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help create
                          >>
                          >>
                          >one.
                          >
                          >
                          >>Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with mechanisms that
                          >>serve more than one purpose in a design and when we use them our design
                          >>can be simpler and more economical.
                          >>
                          >>
                          >
                          >Michael,
                          >Are you talking about the property that the "Motie" technology has in
                          >the Niven+Pournelle books, that every component does more than one
                          >job? That's an extreme.
                          >
                          >

                          I think I only read one of those. Weren't moties the ones that felt
                          that every problem had a solution? Poor buggers :-)

                          >Or, there's the way that modern motorcars and aircraft are sort of
                          >"all one thing". In the most advanced monocoque car designs now some
                          >of the mechanical strength of the vehicle shell comes from the glass
                          >in the windows. This in contrast to something like a Land Rover, which
                          >is still a chassis with components (including separate body panels)
                          >bolted onto it. Monocoques are lighter, cheaper, easier to
                          >manufacture, but the move to once-piece vehicles isn't an unalloyed
                          >advance.
                          >
                          >The British Army has long prefered Land Rovers over more modern
                          >vehicles because they are much easier to maintain and repair. The
                          >Moties needed an sub-species specialised for engineering to keep their
                          >model working.
                          >
                          >It's very hard to write off a Land Rover, but very easy to write off a
                          >monocoque car. Similarly, when monocoque aircraft get slightly damaged
                          >they have a tendency to completely disintergrate.
                          >
                          >Or then there's the way that the pressure of the propellants inside an
                          >Atlas rocket gives the skin of the vehicle its required stiffness.
                          >
                          >Or, consider than in almost all modern motorcycles the engine and
                          >gearbox are a single component, and that component is load-bearing
                          >within the frame. Contrast this with the "pre-unit" construction that
                          >was almost universal into the 1960's, with the engine (and in earlier
                          >bikes, also a separate gearbox) mounted a stand-alone component
                          >within a cradle.
                          >
                          >I suspect that the design concept you are looking for is something to
                          >do with "maturity".
                          >
                          >
                          >

                          Thanks, those are great examples.

                          Michael Feathers
                          www.objectmentor.com
                        • yahoogroups@jhrothjr.com
                          From: Michael Feathers To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                          Message 12 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
                            From: "Michael Feathers"
                            <mfeathers.at.mindspring.com@...>
                            To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
                            <extremeprogramming.at.yahoogroups.com@...>
                            Sent: Monday, October 03, 2005 11:50 AM
                            Subject: Re: [XP] Re: Looking for a word for a design concept..


                            > Keith Braithwaite wrote:
                            >
                            >>
                            >>Michael,
                            >>Are you talking about the property that the "Motie" technology has in
                            >>the Niven+Pournelle books, that every component does more than one
                            >>job? That's an extreme.
                            >
                            > I think I only read one of those. Weren't moties the ones that felt
                            > that every problem had a solution? Poor buggers :-)

                            Not exactly. Crazy Eddie thought every problem had a solution.
                            He was their "village idiot" story character.

                            John Roth
                            >
                            > Thanks, those are great examples.
                            >
                            > Michael Feathers
                            > www.objectmentor.com
                          • geoffrey_slinker
                            Well, I will do for you what I do for myself when I am stuck. Here s a brainstorm. I will type whatever I think of and leave nothing out. -- I have a hand
                            Message 13 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
                              Well, I will do for you what I do for myself when I am stuck.
                              Here's a brainstorm. I will type whatever I think of and leave
                              nothing out.

                              --

                              I have a hand sprayer for spraying poison on weeds. It has a 1.5
                              gallon capacity, a short hose with a nozzle and a squeezable on/off
                              valve.

                              There is a pump handle on top of it. This pump handle does several
                              things. It is used to open the top of the sprayer. It is used to pump
                              up the sprayer. It is used to carry the sprayer.

                              It is a multipurpose or multifunctional component of the sprayer.
                              It has consolidated several needed functions into one part or
                              appliance.
                              Because of this consolidated appliance its application is economical.

                              Consolidated Component
                              Consolidated Appliance
                              Consolidated Functionality
                              Consolidated Behavior
                              Universal Tool
                              What's that wierd wrench that Bob Vila sells for Sears that can do
                              anything?


                              Appliances are about convenience and this consolidated component is
                              very convenient.

                              Amalgamated Components
                              Compound Component/Appliance/Behavior
                              Multi-incorporated
                              Collocated Behavior

                              All-In-One

                              Reminds me of the Super Bass-O-Matic 76, it can take care of all of
                              your fish needs.


                              Well, that's the brain storm or brain drizzle.

                              Geoff





                              --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Michael Feathers
                              <mfeathers@m...> wrote:
                              >
                              > There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for
                              it.
                              > Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help
                              create one.
                              >
                              > Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with mechanisms
                              that
                              > serve more than one purpose in a design and when we use them our
                              design
                              > can be simpler and more economical.
                              >
                              > One example is a type of hair dryer that I run into often. Hair
                              dryers
                              > need to have a way to be turned on and off and it's great to be
                              able to
                              > hang them up in a bathroom so that we don't shock ourselves. The
                              > conventional way to handle this is to create a wall mount and
                              create an
                              > on/off switch. Users can flip off the switch when they are done,
                              and
                              > then hang up the dryer.
                              >
                              > Now, that works, and it is good solid design, but there is this
                              other
                              > way that you can do it. You can design the switch so that the act
                              of
                              > taking the dryer off the hook turns it on and the act of hanging up
                              the
                              > dryer turns it off. I think that example nails the concept that I
                              want
                              > a name for.
                              >
                              > Sometimes this is called "elegance" at other times it is just
                              something
                              > that makes you go "aahhhhh, that's sweet" when you notice it, but I
                              > don't know that there is a name for it.
                              >
                              > I know that Christopher Alexander speaks of what he calls 'the
                              quality
                              > without a name' but I think that what I'm describing is a little
                              > narrower. Or not. Anyone have any ideas?
                              >
                              > Michael Feathers
                              > www.objectmentor.com
                            • Colin Putney
                              ... The other interesting thing about Motie technology was that they took a totally different approach to building things. Where we try to manage complexity by
                              Message 14 of 23 , Oct 3, 2005
                                On Oct 3, 2005, at 2:50 PM, yahoogroups@... wrote:

                                >> I think I only read one of those. Weren't moties the ones that felt
                                >> that every problem had a solution? Poor buggers :-)
                                >>
                                >
                                > Not exactly. Crazy Eddie thought every problem had a solution.
                                > He was their "village idiot" story character.

                                The other interesting thing about Motie technology was that they took
                                a totally different approach to building things. Where we try to
                                manage complexity by isolating them in layers of abstractions. In
                                software that gives us things like subroutines and objects; with
                                hardware it's things like standardized parts. All the principles of
                                "good design" are more about isolating complexity so that we can fit
                                the design into our mind in small chunks. The motie engineers, by
                                contrast, were idiot-savants. They could barely talk, but they had a
                                lot of brain power devoted to understanding technological complexity.
                                Every design was a unique organic whole, with no standardized parts,
                                no loosely-coupled subsystems, no self-similarity.

                                Interestingly enough, you could say that the moties used truly
                                extreme forms of many XP practises. YAGNI taken to its logical end
                                means no general purpose microprocessors - no real-world problem
                                requires that much generality. Leaving all the wiring exposed so
                                anyone can look at it and figure out what the machine does is better
                                than writing a manual. Besides, you need to be able to get at it
                                frequently, because you're constantly tweaking things.

                                The moties are my favourite aliens of all time, because they're
                                actually more intelligent than us, rather than just having tools we
                                haven't invented yet. And haven't we all met a motie-like programmer
                                in our time? He's that lone coder who writes badly-designed, very
                                efficient code that only he can understand. I admire those guys, but
                                I can't stand working with them.

                                Colin
                              • Rob Walsh
                                Hi Michael, Mike Cohn uses the term exciter to describe a feature that exceeds a user s expectations. This may not reflect the simpler and more economical
                                Message 15 of 23 , Oct 4, 2005
                                  Hi Michael,

                                  Mike Cohn uses the term "exciter" to describe a feature that exceeds a
                                  user's expectations. This may not reflect the "simpler and more economical"
                                  element to which you refer, but it may capture the "more than one purpose"
                                  idea.

                                  Rob Walsh
                                  EnvisionWare, Inc.


                                  > -----Original Message-----
                                  > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                  > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                                  > Michael Feathers
                                  > Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2005 11:52 AM
                                  > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                  > Subject: [XP] Looking for a word for a design concept..
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for it.
                                  > Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help
                                  > create one.
                                  >
                                  > Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with
                                  > mechanisms that serve more than one purpose in a design and
                                  > when we use them our design can be simpler and more economical.
                                  >
                                  > One example is a type of hair dryer that I run into often.
                                  > Hair dryers need to have a way to be turned on and off and
                                  > it's great to be able to hang them up in a bathroom so that
                                  > we don't shock ourselves. The conventional way to handle
                                  > this is to create a wall mount and create an on/off switch.
                                  > Users can flip off the switch when they are done, and then
                                  > hang up the dryer.
                                  >
                                  > Now, that works, and it is good solid design, but there is
                                  > this other way that you can do it. You can design the switch
                                  > so that the act of taking the dryer off the hook turns it on
                                  > and the act of hanging up the dryer turns it off. I think
                                  > that example nails the concept that I want a name for.
                                  >
                                  > Sometimes this is called "elegance" at other times it is just
                                  > something that makes you go "aahhhhh, that's sweet" when you
                                  > notice it, but I don't know that there is a name for it.
                                  >
                                  > I know that Christopher Alexander speaks of what he calls
                                  > 'the quality without a name' but I think that what I'm
                                  > describing is a little narrower. Or not. Anyone have any ideas?
                                  >
                                  > Michael Feathers
                                  > www.objectmentor.com
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                                  >
                                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                  > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
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                                  >
                                  >
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                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Cory Foy
                                  Michael, I want to see if I m capturing the essence of your question. Although you may have discovered your term for it by now - nearly a month later. ;) ... -
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Oct 30, 2005
                                    Michael,

                                    I want to see if I'm capturing the essence of your question. Although
                                    you may have discovered your term for it by now - nearly a month later. ;)

                                    Michael Feathers wrote:
                                    > There's something I want to discuss, but I can't find a word for it.
                                    > Maybe someone here can help me find it, if it exists, or help create one.
                                    >
                                    > Here's the concept. When we design, we can end up with mechanisms that
                                    > serve more than one purpose in a design and when we use them our design
                                    > can be simpler and more economical.

                                    - Serves more than one purpose
                                    - Simpler or more economical

                                    > One example is a type of hair dryer that I run into often. Hair dryers
                                    > need to have a way to be turned on and off and it's great to be able to
                                    > hang them up in a bathroom so that we don't shock ourselves. The
                                    > conventional way to handle this is to create a wall mount and create an
                                    > on/off switch. Users can flip off the switch when they are done, and
                                    > then hang up the dryer.

                                    - Functional in a generally expected way

                                    > Now, that works, and it is good solid design, but there is this other
                                    > way that you can do it. You can design the switch so that the act of
                                    > taking the dryer off the hook turns it on and the act of hanging up the
                                    > dryer turns it off. I think that example nails the concept that I want
                                    > a name for.

                                    - Provides value beyond the expected performance level
                                    - Provides a feature beyond expectations

                                    > Sometimes this is called "elegance" at other times it is just something
                                    > that makes you go "aahhhhh, that's sweet" when you notice it, but I
                                    > don't know that there is a name for it.
                                    >
                                    > I know that Christopher Alexander speaks of what he calls 'the quality
                                    > without a name' but I think that what I'm describing is a little
                                    > narrower. Or not. Anyone have any ideas?

                                    Well, for some reason the term convergence is in my head. I wonder if
                                    the design would have come to light without the previous experiences
                                    guiding it. For example, how many thousands or millions of people have
                                    used the hair dryers in hotel rooms, and provided feedback on them.

                                    So, it makes me wonder if the only way to truly get to something as
                                    elegant as what I picture when I read your question is through an
                                    evolutionary process. You have two features - shutting off and hanging
                                    up - and you bring them together based on the experiences of those using
                                    them individually. Convergent evolution.

                                    But that doesn't seem to capture the description of the design - it
                                    ain't an adjective. (ya'll - just to prove I'm from the Southern US ;))

                                    I just found Convergent Synthesis - a strategy that aims to improve the
                                    effeciency of multi-step chemical synthesis.

                                    http://www.chemistrydaily.com/chemistry/Convergent_synthesis

                                    Ah! Synthetic. Or Solution. Chemistry terms.

                                    I'll keep thinking about this some more.

                                    Cory
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