Designing for Average doesn’t fit anyone

From a story of how the US Air Force discovered a design flaw

It is an excerpt from a new book The End of Average by Todd Rose.

Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all 10 dimensions. One pilot might have a longer-than-average arm length, but a shorter-than-average leg length. Another pilot might have a big chest but small hips. Even more astonishing, Daniels discovered that if you picked out just three of the ten dimensions of size — say, neck circumference, thigh circumference and wrist circumference — less than 3.5 per cent of pilots would be average sized on all three dimensions. Daniels’s findings were clear and incontrovertible. There was no such thing as an average pilot. If you’ve designed a cockpit to fit the average pilot, you’ve actually designed it to fit no one.

This is similar to material that I have read in some copy-writing books recently. Target a specific person and not to a general audience for a product.

Here is the book mentioned.

Reducing product and enhancing result in design

Fanstastic post by Goran Peuc in Smashing Magazine about design in information products.

Some highlights are mentioned below but read the whole article.

One of the main problems in product design:

I still find a lot of products today, be they digital or physical, to be too complex and feature-driven. Shouldn’t we as designers instead be looking to remove complexity for users as much as possible or as much as allowed for by current technology, by making our products fit more seamlessly into their daily lives and routines? I feel that we simply don’t and, more worryingly, that we still haven’t learned lessons from the past.

The desired process:

Figure out a way to remove such complexities. Figure out how to remove entire pieces of your product or interface, while keeping the user on the path to the desired result.


Theoretically, the ultimate goal for any product is to be completely removed from the user’s perspective. Work towards that goal because nobody wants to use your product.
People just want the benefit of using it.