Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Norman makes it clear in “The Err is Human” that our brains were functioned to make mistakes and not only a few, but many. Artificial devices, however, are not supposed to make mistakes and if they do, people get angry. There were many types of slips that Norman described. I catch myself doing slips everyday and very frequently. Types of error I frequently can relate to are Loss of Activation errors. I find myself going into other rooms and completely forgetting why I went in there. If that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve gone all the way to the store and completely forgotten why I went there for. I have learned to right everything down now. Sometimes I’m not able to remember though.
In chapter 6, Norman explains that a great design is an evolving process. There is a never-ending cycle of testing a design and then modifying it, every time making the design a little bit better. In the book, Norman gives the example of the typewriter. Another example of a design that does this process is the light bulb. The light bulb was invented over 100 years ago and before that was tested out by many people before Thomas Edison came up with a solution. Yet, even today, the light bulb is still evolving. There are energy efficient light bulbs, which are completely different to incandescent light bulbs. The incandescent light bulb does not last nearly as long as the energy efficient, compact fluorescent light bulbs. This invention is still evolving after over 100 years by people learning how to make a design better.
I have learned a lot reading Norman’s book of, “The Design of Everyday Things”. I have taken a look at interface and design at a closer more detailed way and find myself thinking about how to improve things. I believe this book would help many designers in designing more efficiently. The four ideas that I found most important were make it easy to determine what actions are possible, make things visible on the conceptual model, feedback and follow natural mappings.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
In the article, “Don’t be so quick to embrace your own ignorance”, explains that those instructional book that are, “for dummies” are in a sense, dumb themselves. How can something be, “for dummies” when they do not even know how to do something? People need to learn to know how to do something. This relates back to the reading of Norman’s, “The Design of Everyday Things” because he states that it takes human experience and interaction to know to do something. This also relates to the chapter about helplessness. People end up blaming themselves about not knowing how to do something and these books deliberately insult them for wanting to even learn how to do it. I agree very much with this article because why should someone be questioned of their intelligence by purchasing a book that helps try to master what they want to learn? He states, “If there’s something you don’t currently know how to do, please decide not to be a dummy or an idiot. You’re as smart as you always were, you’re just looking to learn something new”. I really like this statement because people become embarrassed in trying to learn something. I know I wouldn’t want to buy one of those “for dummies” books because I would be too embarrassed to buy it. I wouldn’t want someone thinking I was dumb. I know that I am not, but the books themselves act as if you are.
Norman describes the importance of the behaviors of knowledge and the constraints people have with knowledge they know. It makes me think of these behaviors of information in the world, great precision is not required, natural constraints are present, and cultural constraints are presents; at a closer view. I understand information in the world as habitual things humans do everyday because we no longer need to think about how to do something, but end up just doing it. The example of typing on a keyboard is a great one because at first you have to learn it, but it becomes so habitual, you don’t need to think about it. Once a person knows how to do that task, great precision is not required anymore. It becomes a non-thinking task and people just do it rather than think about it. The constraints of the keyboard are where you put your fingers. When you are first taught how to type your left hand has you put your fingers on letter, A, S, D, and F and your right hand on J, K, L and ; sign. This is a constraint because your fingers only press letters that are near to your hand’s starting point. The cultural constraints are the different keyboards used throughout the world. The keyboard is setup differently in different parts of the world. Constraints are necessary in all interface designs for people to figure out how to use them. The lego toy was a great example because the pieces had constraints of how to put it today such as, pieces not fitting together right. This should apply to more appliances. I remember trying to setup my desk. The desk came all apart in about 10 pieces. The pieces didn’t really fit together and there were about 3 different kinds of screws. It made it impossible to even begin how to put it together.
I found the light switch idea to make a room layout switch device to know exactly what lights to turn on was very clever. 3 or more switches gets me confused if they look all similar and are in a row, you don’t know which light goes to the actual light to turn it on. I mean I don’t think I would have to go as far as doing the exact room layout to figure out the light switches, but maybe if they were colored coated or numbered, it would be better than them looking all the same.
Knowledge and knowing things is definitely a key point in knowing how to do something, but the constraints to eliminate other possibilities in doing something is important too.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I was intrigued of the idea of acting out the seven stage of action since reading about them. Norman says that many tasks become, “opportunistic rather than planned (Norman, pg 48)”. They can be planned though. Let’s take for instance my day yesterday:
I was in Electronic Media II class and we need to finish project 1.
The First Step is to form a goal: My goal was exactly what is stated that needed to be done.
The Second Step is forming the intention: I needed to get on the computer to complete this task.
The Third Step is specifying an action: I needed to read instructions and follow them to complete the goal on the computer.
The Fourth Step is executing the action: I followed the directions to complete the project in step-by-step form and finished the project
The Fifth Step is perceiving the state of the world: This is when I realized I finished the completed task.
The Sixth Step is interpreting the state of the world: I came to the conclusion that I can move onto project 2.
The Seventh Step is evaluation the outcome: I completed the goal that I started with.
This was an example of a planned situation.
This is an example of an unplanned situation:
Forming a goal: Go to the Phillies baseball game or not to go?
Forming the intention: I think about all the homework I have to do to be able to go to the game. I have a lot, but realize that I don’t get too many opportunities to go to games for free.
Specifying an action: I could stay home and do homework or enjoy a night out at the baseball game.
Executing the action: I decide to go to the game.
Perceiving the state of the world: I realize this probably could be a problem in finishing my homework, but I’m going to go anyway because I don’t get too many chances like this and I need a break from school anyway.
Interpreting the state of the world: I am going to go to the game and I am going to have fun
Evaluation of the game: I decide to go and I did have fun. I also got free food, so I received more than I thought. It was a great night and I ended up finishing most of my work that night.
The seven stages pertain to almost anything. These two examples follow the stages in a similar way, but are completely different. It made me break down the choices in doing things and look at completely tasks a more particular and specified way that just doing something.
The idea of Helplessness makes me put myself in the consumer’s position rather than just the position of the designer. Norman points out how human intentions are to blame themselves if they are not able to perform a task on an object. It is interesting how Norman looks into this and realizes a connection between human misconception and design of everyday things.
I thought the whole idea of Aristotle’s theory of “Naïve Physics” (Norman, pg 36) is especially a notable theory to appreciate. Aristotle brought a common-sense way to thinking about physics than the traditional way of Newton’s laws. Aristotle said in order to create motion, something needs to constantly be moving it and in Newton’s law it says that there’s motion unless someone stops it. It makes more sense than Newton’s law.
The explanation of learned helplessness and taught helplessness was very intriguing. Learned helplessness is paralleled with depression, which I thought was interesting because depression in a sense is difficult to understand. When Norman brings these two terms together, he makes a viable argument because learned helplessness is not knowing how to do something numerous times, thus making the person helpless (Norman, pg 42). Taught helplessness is when you fail at something and feel embarrassed or inferior to that specific task. Norman gives the examples of learning mathematics. This happens to people everyday without even noticing from pushing a door the wrong way to putting an oil cap on, on an airplane.
The seven stages of action made me interested in the step-by-step process of how humans carry out their actions. There is, “one for goals, three for execution, and three for evaluation (Norman, pg 48)”. These steps apply to all situations. Ones that last for 10 seconds or ones that last for over a year, need to go through this process.
I liked reading this section because Norman in a sense puts blame on the designer and makes the reader realize that not being able to do something isn’t always their fault, but the design of an interface is to blame. He always lays out details of his findings through studying people.