Designing for the extreme

Was feeding my docu addiction watching ‘Objectified’ on Netflix. Lots of good stuff, no attempt at summarizing it here.

Did get me thinking about the principle of designing for the extreme. Example: apple peelers suck. Design an apple peeler that works for people with arthritis, and it will most likely work for everyone else as well.

How does that apply to web?

  • Find you extreme users and use cases and let that delimit the design
  • Tallest/shortest, richest/poorest, slowest/fastest
  • Look for surprises instead of trends in usage


  • Assumes that your general users’ needs are contained within the extreme case
  • What if you don’t know what your extremes in terms of users are?
  • Can lead you away from the obvious, middle of the road design in front of you – which is often what you need…
Probably best for design exploration.

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