Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Learning Log #4: Chapters 5,6 , and 7

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.

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