Title: Why a Toaster Is a Design Triumph
Context: Instead of trying to always change the world, maybe we should simply spend more time delivering a better piece of toasted bread.
Synopsis: How does one wax philosophical about the design of a mechanism for browning bread? Bread toasting devices are trite, tired, antiquated relics of a bygone time when our home appliances were mechanized not digitized. Surely, the solution is to create a device that connects to your home Wi-Fi with a companion mobile app that allows you to precisely select the specific hue of doneness from an earth tone color palette and will send a push alert once optimal toast “doneness” has been achieved! Well, no. In fact: hell no. As with most things in life, the philosophical root is to be found in simplicity, not manufactured chaos and bells, to say nothing of whistles. The truth is that what most people are looking for is not revolution, they simple crave just that little bit more. The role of the designer is so often seen as some mystical being who conjures truth from a few bits of disparate data points, clairvoyant insight seen only by the supernormal eye, and a lucky role of the dice. Perhaps on occasion this may be true, but in most cases, all that is required of us, is to empathize not only with the end user, but also with the object they will be interacting with. Because the difference between underdone and perfect toast is not a transcendental riddle to be solved, it’s rather giving the user—and object!—just “a bit more” of our own time and attention.
Best Bit: “Designers are ambitious sorts of folk—arrogant, even—and none would want to be associated with stasis, or even with mere cyclicality. What a waste, just to mow lawns or brown bread every day! Let us instead reinvent lawn care! Let us reinvent breakfast!”

via theatlantic.com