Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Donald Norman


Professor emeritus of cognitive science at University of California, San Diego and a Professor of Computer science at Northwestern University.
Donald Norman
Computer scientists have so far worked on developing powerful programming languages that make it possible to solve the technical problems of computation. Little effort has gone toward devising the languages of interaction.
Norman quotes
"It probably won a prize" is a disparaging remark in this book. Why? Because prizes tend to be given for some aspects of design, to the neglect of all others—usually including usability.
Norman
Good design is also an act of communication between the designer and the user, except that all the communication has to come about by the appearance of the device itself. The device must explain itself.




Norman Donald quotes
Technologists are not noted for learning from the errors of the past. They look forward, not behind, so they repeat the same problems over and over again. [...] As each new technology matures, customers are no longer happy with the flashy promises of the technology but instead demand understandable and workable designs. Slowly the manufacturers relearn the same basic principles and apply them to their products. The most egregious failures always come from the developers of the most recent technologies.
Norman Donald
When you have trouble with things—whether it's figuring out whether to push or pull a door or the arbitrary vagaries of the modern computer and electronics industries—it's not your fault. Don't blame yourself: blame the designer.
Donald Norman quotes
Academics get paid for being clever, not for being right.
Donald Norman
The major problems facing the development of products that are safer, less prone to error, and easier to use and understand are not technological: they are social and organizational.
Norman Donald quotes
When a device as simple as a door has to come with an instruction manual—even a one-word manual—then it is a failure, poorly designed.
Norman
Innocence lost is not easily regained. The designer simply cannot predict the problems people will have, the misinterpretations that will arise, and the errors that will get made.
Norman Donald
As the technology matures, it becomes less and less relevant. The technology is taken for granted. Now, new customers enter the marketplace, customers who are not captivated by technology, but who instead want reliability, convenience, no fuss or bother, and low cost.
Donald Norman
Creeping featurism is a disease, fatal if not treated promptly. There are some cures, but, as usual, the best approach is to practice preventative medicine.




Donald Norman quotes
The principle of visibility is violated over and over again in everyday things. In numerous designs crucial parts are carefully hidden away. Handles on cabinets distract from some design aesthetics, and so they are deliberately made invisible or left out. The cracks that signify the existence of a door can also distract from the pure lines of the design, so these significant cues are also minimized or eliminated. The result can be a smooth expanse of gleaming material, with no sign of doors or drawers, let alone of how those doors and drawers might be operated.
Donald Norman
Change the attitude toward errors. Think of an object's user as attempting to do a task, getting there by imperfect approximations. Don't think of the user as making errors; think of the actions as approximations of what is desired.
Norman quotes
In their work, designers often become expert with the device they are designing. Users are often expert at the task they are trying to perform with the device. [...] Professional designers are usually aware of the pitfalls. But most design is not done by professional designers, it is done by engineers, programmers, and managers.
Norman Donald
If people keep buying poorly designed products, manufacturers and designers will think they are doing the right thing and continue as usual.
Norman Donald quotes
Usability is not often thought of as a criterion during the purchasing process. Moreover, unless you actually test a number of units in a realistic environment doing typical tasks, you are not likely to notice the ease or difficulty of use. [...] Do it right there in the store. Do not be afraid to make mistakes or ask stupid questions. Remember, any problems you have are probably the design's fault, not yours.
Donald Norman
In the consumer economy taste is not the criterion in the marketing of expensive soft drinks, usability is not the primary criterion in the marketing of home and office appliances. We are surrounded with objects of desire, not objects of use.
Donald Norman quotes
We are victims of our own success. We have let technology lead the way, pushing ever faster to newer, faster, and more powerful systems, with nary a moment to rest, contemplate, and to reflect upon why, how, and for whom all this energy has been expended.
Donald Norman
Serious accidents are frequently blamed on "human error." Yet careful analysis of such situations shows that the design or installation of the equipment has contributed significantly to the problems. The design team or installers did not pay sufficient attention to the needs of those who would be using the equipment, so confusion or error was almost unavoidable.
Norman Donald
Although I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a stupid question, there can indeed be stupid answers. 42 is an example. Not only is this a poor ripoff of Doug Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide, but it isn't even a prime number. Everyone surely knows that numerical answers to profound questions are always prime. (The correct answer is 37.)


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