The design of everyday things


This is an analysis of the design of everyday things by Donald A. Norman and can be found here.

In chapter one, the writer gives examples of good and bad designs and state the impact that they have on users. Whereas some are easy to understand and use, others are complicated and only result in upsetting or confusing their users. This is especially troublesome in everyday tools that we are forced to use.

The writer then continues with another example of a friend who gets caught in a series of swinging doors, this helps him bring about his point of visibility which says that the correct parts must be visible, and they must convey the correct message. He calls the use of these natural signals natural design.

From this chapter I have gotten a greater understanding for the need of a good conceptual model which can be easily interpreted by the user and won’t be difficult. This is an important aspect to take into consideration when creating designs for users, if the user can’t implicitly understands how a device works, it may cause them to not be as receptive towards it.

In chapter four the writer speaks about classifying everyday constraints. These main constraints are physical, semantic, cultural and logical. These are universal and appear in a wide variety of situations. To depict this, the writer asked individuals to recreate a leggo bike without previously seeing it assembled. They were able to do with the help of thee constraints. He then further expounds on these constraints and how they helped the users. When designers make these constraints visible to the user, it allows a greater ease in using or understanding designs. The writer then references to chapter on in which the door was not well designed because the user could not use any of these normal constraints to solve the problem.

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