A simple Google search for long-term care design key words results in the following:
Lobby furniture - 2,690,000 results
Furniture - 179,000,000 results
Recliners - 5,040,000 results
Senior friendly furniture - 270,000 results
Dining tables - 8,000,000 results
Resident room furniture - 406,000 results
Anyone with a little time and desire either to try to design on their own and save money or fulfill their decorating desires now has millions of options to select from.
I find that clients use the Internet to:
· catch a designer in a pricing issue
· feel in control
· save money
· look for innovations
Too many options seem not only to be an issue for clients wanting to find the cheapest option on their own but also create frustration for the client having to understand and wade through the millions of options. This can overwhelm not only a client but also the design professional. An Internet search can take you down the rabbit hole that twists and turns at every corner and creates little value. Typically, the same products are offered through multiple portals.
Another issue facing Internet shoppers is the presence of fly-by-night operations. Many Internet companies won’t be around in the next six months. The order may be fulfilled but no one will be there when the product fails. Saving a couple extra bucks may seem like a great idea on the front end but one must consider lifecycle costing.
What about meeting code? Most clients are completely unaware that they need to meet any codes. When this is brought up they generally disregard the information unless the design professional forces the point. If a client would ever be inclined to meet code with the specifications of a product, it would become very difficult for them to know where to look to find the right information. Rarely does the Internet easily guide one to find out which codes are required in assisted living. Even for an expert, the data is difficult to mine and requires patience and the skill of a detective.
The positives of the Internet are the reduced research and general searching time that allow designers more time to design. It also encourages professionals to step up our game and not wait until market introductions or when a sales representative introduces a new product. We need to be diligently using the Internet to know what is out there.