The Design of Everyday Things PDF Summary


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Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/the-design-of-everyday-things-pdf-summary/

The Cognitive Psychology of Good Design


“The Design of Everyday Things” is hard – especially if it is good. Learn the process that yields good and intuitive design, that users can easily grasp.

About Donald A. Norman

Donald Norman is an author, the director of The Design Lab at University of California, and Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Science at the same University.

"The Design of Everyday Things PDF Summary"

Have you ever struggled to grasp how a simple everyday object works?

If you have, you are not the only one!

In fact, many people have problems using seemingly simple everyday objects.

However, no matter how simple the product, the problem is never the person who uses it – the problem is always bad design.

Bad design happens when designers oversee the relation between users and the product.

Good design is the complete opposite and brings products and people together.

But, why do bad design happen?

Well, one of the primary causes is the rapid technological advancement.

The continually changing technology makes it hard for designers to develop complex products that are easy to use.

However, no matter how many functions a product can do, and how revolutionary it may seem, if a user cannot use it, it is worthless.

Hence, designers should always strive to develop products which are user-friendly.

User and learner friendly products allow people to learn how to operate them as they go, instead of trying to comprehend thick and complicated manuals.

So, what can designers do to make the design good?

Well, they should create products which have clear clues that show users how to operate them.

The product needs to communicate with users by giving them feedback in the form of sounds, vibrations or signs.

Signs also help the user understand if the device is turned on or off.

And what happens when you try to make your design good, but users still find it difficult to use it?

When users have a hard time using a product, you need to search for the root-cause of the problem.

A quick fix will not do in the long run.

So, if you get bad feedback on the easiness of use of the product, do not blame your customers, but listen to them.

The keys to good design are having patience and practicing design thinking.

Only that way you can find out why users encounter problems and how you can make your design better.

Key Lessons from "The Design of Everyday Things PDF"

1. The Three Psychological Levels Users Engage With a Product On 2. The Role of Constraints 3. Creating Human Centered Design

The Three Psychological Levels Users Engage With a Product On

  • The visceral level, connected to unconscious actions
  • The behavioral level, linked to quick, conscious reflexes
  • The reflective level, related to problem-solving and planning

The Role of Constraints

Constraints are clues that show users how to use the product. They can be physical or cultural.

They also remind people about some ways of using the product that they did not think of.

Creating Human Centered Design

  • Study how users interact with a product
  • Generate ideas to solve the problem
  • Build a prototype
  • Test the prototype
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"The Design of Everyday Things Quotes"

[bctt tweet="Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating." username="get12min"]

[bctt tweet=“Rule of thumb: if you think something is clever and sophisticated beware-it is probably self-indulgence.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“A brilliant solution to the wrong problem can be worse than no solution at all: solve the correct problem.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“Cognition attempts to make sense of the world: emotion assigns value.” username=“get12min”]