Increasingly, many products are being designed with features that intentionally restrict the way the user can behave, or enforce certain modes of behaviour. The same intentions are also evident in the design of many systems and environments.
This site aims—with readers’ input—to examine and analyse the ideas and techniques of these architectures of control in design, through examples and anecdotes, and by keeping up-to-date with relevant developments. If you can suggest an example, please get in touch, or add a comment—all help is much appreciated.
The intentions may be purely commercial, socially or environmentally beneficial, or a mixture, but the implications of such architectures of control in the years ahead are likely to become significant across many fields—e.g. the operation of markets, innovation growth, freedom of individual action and consumer engagement with technology.
My starting-point is the research I did for my Master’s dissertation, Architectures of Control in Consumer Product Design [750k PDF], which although limited in detail, has a fairly wide scope. This has been split into a series of pages—see the links in the sidebar. Since starting the blog in November 2005, many more examples have come to light, and with comments and suggestions from readers, it’s grown into what’s hopefully a useful resource for designers and others interested in the relationship between technology and society.
Datchet, Windsor, England
November 2005 (updated October 2006)