Response: The Psychopathology of Everyday Things

I really liked Norman’s method of breaking down design in terms of terminology used and the many different conceptions that are integrated within it.

Bad design is definitely a hassle that almost everyone has faced at one point in their life or another. However, while reading his work at first, I felt as if Norman was being a little bit exaggerated about how important design and signifiers are in daily life and objects but then I remembered being in London a few weeks ago and struggling to work the tap for a good ten minutes before asking for help (my roommates did not know either). The situation we faced was pretty disruptive and frustrating and a set of clearer indications on the tap could have definitely averted this problem; thus, I conceded that Norman is correct in identifying how crucial design is for objects – especially those that should not require too much thinking in the first place.

“The same technology that simplifies life by providing more functions in each device also complicates life by making the device harder to learn, harder to use. This is the paradox of technology and the challenge for the designer.”

Moreover, Norman’s statements about the future of design really resonated with me as well. Watching my grandmother or even my mom interact with a new phone is painful at best as they attempt to understand how each flick of their finger or movement of their face will cause a change on the screen. Even myself, having access to iPhones, Macs etc. am unable to remember sometimes how different movements can result in different results without having to look them up. Even as I write this, having become used to using a Windows computer in my class and changing back to a Mac for personal work, I continue to mistake the commands on the keyboard between the two. This makes me question, what does this mean for the future of design as electronics get more and more complicated in terms of functionality?

Leave a Reply