Defined by Design: The Surprising Power of Hidden Gender, Age, and Body Bias in Everyday Products and Places

Kathryn H. Anthony. Prometheus Books, $18 trade paper (310p) ISBN 978-1-63388-283-6
Given the topic of how poor or inadequate design can cause unintentional difficulties and even harm, the ill-structured nature of this book is especially ironic. Anthony (Designing for Diversity) attempts to give her chapters order by using descriptive chapter heads and subheads, but she quickly veers from her stated topic; for example, she discusses the dangerous design of snow blowers in a chapter about inaccessible packaging. In another chapter, she describes how cell phones may lower sperm count when carried in the pants pocket, moves on to distracted driving, and meanders back to mentioning that hot laptops may also affect men’s ability to reproduce, all within the same subsection. Descriptions of many of the factors that go into poor design (such as inadequate testing car seats) are informative, the complaints follow one after the other with no pause to suggest solutions or alternatives until the very last chapter, in which solutions are likewise heaped together in a way that reads more like a laundry list than a call to action. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 03/14/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-63388-284-3
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