Monday, 22 October 2007


Just came across one of those German compound nouns that cannot be translated 1:1 into English, may seem strange to the non-German speaker but sometimes perhaps capture the essence of a given phenomen or concept so aptly that they find their way into the English language. Like "Zeitgeist" or "Blitzkrieg" etc. - in this case, it was used by the German designer Dieter Rams - according to Manager Magazin a sort of design-grandfather of the iPhone: "Selbsterklaerungsqualitaet", refering to good design and his believe that displays / interaction models should be self-explanatory. It literally translates to "Selfexplenatoryquality" - which just doesn't seem as precise ( or grammatically correct for that matter).

Any mass market user interface should have "Selbsterklaerungsqualitaet" as the main objective. No manual needed. No help section needed.


angie said...

If selbsterklaerungsqualitaet was the main objective of most mass market producers I'd be in heaven.....but, I'd have to demand a newly coined word. Can *you* even pronounce selbsterklaerungsqualitaet? :)

an und aussichten said...

i would be jobless with to much 'selbsterklärungsqualitaet' in the it-market and maybe a lot of people would loose their job as well.
how can you advocate something as dangerous as 'selbsterklärungsqualitaet' ?!? are you an anarchist?