Monday, 22 October 2007

Selbsterklaerungsqualitaet

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.

2 comments:

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?