Reading Response – The Design of Everything

The Design of Everyday Things
The Psychopathology of Everyday Things (Chapter 1)
Don Norman

As an individual who views design as a critical part of developing a digital product, I agreed with many parts of Norman’s writing. Indulging in both the front-end area of web development and the logical parts of computer science, I understand the common quarrel between engineers and designers that Norman mentioned in the early parts of the chapter. For instance, Norman’s analogy of engineers and designers reminded me of my experience in working with both developers and designers for building a website. For the most part, the designers would want a certain outlook of the website that they created in regards to the user’s expectations. They would create personas to show the prediction of different interactions and use them to support their designs. On the other hand, the developers will only comment on the practicality or eligibility in putting the design into code – if certain parts are redundant or practically impossible, the developers will not accept the design. Then, the whole arguments falls into a repeated loop.

Moreover, nowadays we see a lot of machines that has no considerations for the users. One example would be an android phone. As someone who has used both an iPhone and an android phone, I felt that the android phones have countless functionalities that are not only hard to use, but also too complicated. A typical Samsung phone would have more than 10 variation of finger motions that were rather discomforting to use and 15  pre-installed applications that I did not know what they were for. When used correctly, these features can be of great use, but they are just futile affordances  without the necessary signifiers.

So, I believe that the human-centered design is a crucial aspect when it comes to any products that we use. If the products were designed based on “the needs, capabilities, and behavior” (Norman, 7) of the users, it will be easier to predict how the users will interact with the product, detect any problems beforehand, and make the overall interaction gratifying. One of the examples I have found was the use of personas. Personas are hypothetical users based on a user type, and personas are used in order to identify the possible user experience scenarios. By using personas, we can design the product centered to the users according to their needs and predicted problems and making”the collaboration of person and the device feel wonderful” (Norman, 7).

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