"Everyday Engineering": be inquisitive about your environment
"Everyday Engineering: What Engineers See" is a nice little booklet by Andrew Burroughs from IDEO. A bit in the same vein of "Thoughtless Acts?: Observations on Intuitive Design" by Jane Fulton Suri, is about all these small things and details that I sometimes blog about: observations about the world, the complexity of assemblage, failures, cracks, misuses, etc. All these small details matter as they tell us about "the thought process behind designed things".
Compared to Thoughtless Acts, that book is more about the way to see the world in the engineer's eyes but it's definitely of interest for anyone interested in design or user experience research.
In addition, this collection of pictures is an invitation to be more "inquisitive" about our environments. As I sometimes try to do with picture I annotate here, the point is rather to ask questions concerning why things are like this or that. And as the author says, it allows to become "better observers":
"Perhaps we discover a point of failure that is completely counterintuitive, as when corrosion aggressively attacks the most protected part of a steel beam. And we can also see success, when things do go as planned and the end product proves to be a match for everything that is thrown at it. Regardless of whether we find inspiration or not, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to become better observers. Our environment is brimming over with information that can help us with our basic ability to navigate a course. The better we are able to refine our actions and our thoughts based on seeing what has gone before, the fewer mistakes we will make"