I was given a pretty cool assignment over the weekend, I was to look at various forms of media from Donald Norman. Donald is a advocate of user-centered design , furthermore he is one of the first few people to really dig into UX (user experience) as if it were its own field of study.
My UX teacher has done a lot of talking about how we would dive into Donald’s work, I remained skeptical of that. One would think that his studies would surly be irrelevant by now, given that decades have passed since he published books such as The Design of Everyday Things or User Centered System Design. Such an assumption could not be more wrong. His ideas have effortlessly outlived the ever evolving technologies of today. What he has to say has no real investment in the subject of discussion being any thing specific. The concepts he presents could apply to an oven as easily as it could to a laptop or even a tablet.
Now that you know that, do you want to learn more?
The first part of my assignment was to watch these two videos (video one, video two). I really got a kick out of what he had to say, I love this UX stuff and have been thinking about it a lot lately. One thought I have been giving a lot of attention to is that,”things should be intuitive”. As mentioned by Krug in Rocket Surgery Made Easy as well as my UX teacher, good UX goes unnoticed and feels natural. Donald, in these two videos analyzes the fact that bad UX does exactly the opposite thing, often leaving the user to find a individualistic explanation; they draw a faulty correlation between themselves and their failure to work with the given system when really its just a poor system.
Next I was instructed to watch this video. In this video he really capitalizes on not only looking at the fact that we all struggle with simple things but also that this issue is a product of people designing things that are not for the people, but instead for them selves. He pointed this out by making the room realize that they were divided in opinion regarding which kind of shaker held salt. He then made the point that what they thought didn’t matter what they thought or why even if they had good reason to believe what they did, that it was the opinion of the designer that mattered.
Through all of these videos I learned many great things (and recommend others to invest these videos also), the greatest of which is this,” technology should conform to the people based on their needs, people should not have to conform to technology based on there needs”.
If you would like to learn more from Donald Norman I recommend you look here, this is a collection of his essays. Among them I chose to look at,The Paradox of Wearable Technologies and Why We Fail (My Foreword)
to reflect upon in this post here.