Reading Responses

Her Code Got Humans On the Moon – and Invented Software

I enjoyed reading this article as it informed me about a piece of history I wasn’t aware of. It was interesting how the passion of one woman was a major driver behind the Apollo 8 mission. It also demonstrated and emphasized the importance of thinking ahead and taking into account all the mistakes that could occur during a certain interaction, and taking the necessary precautions. In the case of Hamilton, she was able to predict an error that was presumably unlikely to happen, and went against the requests of her superiors to install the software needed to prevent the error from occurring. This provides us with a great example of the diligence necessary to foresee possible problems that could result during the interactions that we design for our projects.

Attractive Things Work Better

Norman examines how the aesthetics of an object or experience affect the user’s perception regarding its ease of use. Norman also delves into the importance of accounting for the emotions of the user when designing an interaction, and explain in simple terms that when people feel better about themselves they tend to become “better at brainstorming” and “examining multiple alternatives”. The reading made me question our reliance on aesthetically pleasing processes and how we favor those over less visually stimulating ones – even if it functions the same or even provides a more adequate performance. This made me more inclined to forgo aesthetically appealing choices in the projects I intend to make in the future, in order to challenge the notion of functionality in relation to form. The reading also sheds light on the cognitive processes behind the choices humans make, and the importance of design to the process of learning. Norman eloquently describes that the designer should preferably be in a positive state, since it could invariably affect their curiosity and creative processes, as well as how appealing their design is to the visceral, behavioral and reflective levels of users.

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