Links FX

Links Fx: The original version
I developed Links Fx very soon after inventing Access Fm. The idea came about whilst discussing the possibility of applying De Bono’s thinking hats to the teaching of design technology. I was not keen on De Bono’s thinking hats then and still am not. As a teacher I find it hard that we still refer to the black hat as the negative and the white positive, sorry, but not happy, so I do not use it!

I would like to give you a guide on how to apply Links Fx and suggest how to use it in a real classroom.

L- Logical:
Look at the product and decide which parts or functions are used in a logical fashion during normal use. Which parts of a product actually work, time after time, year after year, no matter who uses it?

Look at the product and decide which parts or functions are used in an illogical way during normal use. Think about it, how many of us close the car door using the door window frame or even the window itself, so why place the handle so low down?

N- Need:
This is all about having a fresh look at a product, a new perspective and the courage to define what is really needed. How many products primary function is lessened by the fact that it has been given superfluous secondary functions in an effort to sell it? Think early VCR and DVD players.

K- Keep:
Now you get to decide what is absolutely necessary to enable a product to function perfectly, you get to list those features that you feel really work and are essential to the product, not dictated by a marketing team.

S- Scrap:
This is the part that young people love, the ability to simply remove all boundaries and scrap those ideas, however old or well established, in the process completely freeing up the possibilities. Just because an idea is 100 years old it does not mean it’s actually any good, think toilet brush. How much of that idea, if produced for the first time today would be seen as acceptable simply from a hygiene point of view?

F- Form Follows Function follows Form:
Confused? Stay with me on this one. We all know that the accepted paradigm is form follows function, but is it really? When you develop a product its function and form are paramount and great focus is afforded to both. However in many cases I believe that function wins, think of all those pre-release photos of new cars, they looked sleek, sexy, low and fast, what happened from concept to manufacture? What I am suggesting is simply this, when you get to that stage that a product is complete and some of the aesthetics have been sacrificed to allow perfect function, why not focus again on its form. You have the function and as long as it’s retained you have nothing to lose.

X- X Factor:
For years designers have tried to define what the X factor really is, I reckon I have the answer. Go into a store to buy a kettle, you have a £20 budget, two are available, one is plain and the other aesthetically pleasing, both have identical functions. Most people would by the better looking example.
So how do you put the X Factor into your products…? Form follows Function follows Form of course. – ACCESSFM & LINKS FX Copyright © 1999, Spencer Herbert. All rights reserved.

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