My Notes: The Design of Everyday Things

Here are the notes I took on the book, The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

Cushard Consequential The Design of Everything Things Donald Norman
  1. It's not your fault
  2. Design Principles
    1. Conceptual models
    2. Feedback - feedback is critical
    3. Constraints - constrain the choices
    4. Affordances
  3. The Power of observations
Affordance: The perceived and actual properties of the thing, primarily those fundamental properties that determine just how the thing could possible be used.

Principles of Design:
A good conceptual model - allows us to predict the effect of our actions

Seven stages of Action
  1. Forming the goal
  2. Forming the Intention
  3. Specifying the action
  4. Executing the action
  5. Perceiving the state of the world
  6. Interpreting the state of the world
  7. Evaluating the outcome
The seven stages of Action as design aids (boiled down)
  • Visibility
  • a good conceptual model
  • good mappings - relationships between actions and results
  • Feedback
Knowledge in the head

Knowledge in the world

Precise Behavior can emerge from imprecise knowledge for 4 reasons
  • Information is in the world
  • Great precision is not required
  • natural constraints are present
  • Cultural constraints are present
  • To Reduce / Eliminate Errors - Designers Should: 
Understand the causes of error and design to minimize those causes
Make it possible to reverse actions - to undo or make it harder to do what cannot be reversed
Make it easier to discover the errors that do occur, and make them easier to correct
Change the attitude towards errors - think of an object user as attempting to do a task, getting there by imperfect approximations. Don't think of the user as making errors; think of the action as approximations of what is desired
How to deal with errors:

Forcing Functions: a physical constraint - where the actions are constrained so that failure at one stage prevents the next step from happening.

Design Should:
  • Make it easy to determine what actions are possible at any moment (make use of constraints)
  • Make things visible, including conceptual models of the system, the alternative actions, and the results of actions
  • Make it easy to evaluate the current state of the system
  • Follow natural mappings between intentions and the required actions; between actions and the resulting effects, and between the information that is visible and the interpretations of the system state.
Seven Design Principles
  1. Use both knowledge in the world and knowledge in the head
  2. Simplify the structure of tasks
  3. Make things visible, bridge the gulfs of execution and evaluation
  4. Get the mapping right
  5. Exploit the power of constraints, both natural and artificial
  6. Design for error
  7. When all else fails, standardize