Think Design Doesn't Matter in Medical? Think Again

Listening to the Medical Design Excellence Awards jurors argue about the merits and flaws of the medical devices submitted for the awards, as I did this past weekend, is always so enlightening. It's amazing to see how the different jurors—surgeons, engineers, and designers—evaluate the products. 

Google is reportedly in talks with Warby Parker, an eyewear e-retailer, to help design its internet-connected glasses. 

When a photo of one product flashed on the screen, one juror, an industrial designer, cooed, "It's beautiful," drawing chuckles from the room. 

But design is no laughing matter. The aesthetics of a product ultimately play a huge role in user adoption. A 13-year-old with type 1 diabetes is much more likely to properly use her continuous glucose monitor effectively if it looks and acts like an iPod as opposed to a Walkman. An older man with mobility challenges is less likely to try to walk on his own and risk a fall if he feels dignified sitting in his wheelchair.

Smart device makers understand the imporance of design. Apple has been at it for years, and now Google is reportedly in talks with hip eyewear e-retailer Warby Parker to make its internet-connected glasses more fashion forward. 

Are medical device makers giving design its due?

Jamie Hartford is the managing editor of MD+DI.

Related Content 

Think Like a Designer

2012 Medical Design Exellence Award Winners

Four Trends from the 2012 Medical Design Excellence Awards