Design of Everyday Things, ch. 1


This is one of those topics that have been beaten into my head thousands of times – especially if you’ve come from an art and design undergrad. Norman had, however, a really refreshing take on design and thus the role of the designer with some effective examples. One constantly hears what design “should” be, – simple – , but only after some time and experience do you really begin to grasp how hard that is to achieve, with it being 100% intuitive and functional and with lasting visual appeal. Norman takes up the argument of intuitiveness from the beginning with many examples and complaints, but i have to argue back, that there is a balance of these three factors mentioned above. I like to be challenged by a device or object, but not to the point of not being able to use it –> frustration. One forgets, by design, how much research and testing goes into every mass produced object, but frustration can also come in when something is so dumbed down that other functions get lost and don’t make into the production phase. That usually goes back to marketing and defining who your Joe or Jane user is going to be. My point: just as often as something is too technical for the user, i find that things are designed for the truly inept. This could go so far as to compare different cultures and their designs: the ones that come to mind first, say Europe and the U.S.. One often hears that only recently has the U.S. experienced a design boom , slowly catching up with the rest of the world. Take no offence, this is purely a hypothetical academic statement meant for debate. or…


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