Friday, March 27, 2009

Emotional Design

I believe this book by Don Norman contradicts everything he has laid out in his other works. In his other books, especially The Design of Everyday Things, he argues for straightforward, intuitive design. In this book, he argues that actractive objects stimulate the mind, causing for more creative thinking, making them easier to use.

While I don't necessarily have a problem with either side of the debate, in Everyday Things, he laid out scientific, objective suggestions for making a design successful. If there is an objective method of designing, they should be followed.

I myself would prefer to have attractive appliances, but I do not think that that is a defining aspect of the object. I like objects that are easy to use, or that have great functionality (even if they require more attention to learn fully), if the design is emotionally pleasing, that is a bonus. 

I think designers should worry about how their product will be perceived by their target audience, and should attempt to make it attractive in all aspects. I think that the primary goal is that the device functions properly, and is easy to use with respective to whatever its intended purpose is.

I accept that people like good looking things, but I think the functionality of the device should be the designer's main concern.


  1. I appreciate your perspective but also like Norman coming around to a new viewpoint - I feel like (in previous books) he focuses too much on one aspect and less on the holistic design/interface, but in this book he kind of gets that.

    But that's just me.

  2. Tyler, I agree that there's a large reversal of thought for Norman, but in the end there is good reason to include consideration for the visceral, behavorial, and reflective. My only wish was that this was included in the original seeing as it does have a great deal of psychology in it that the original title "The Psychology of Everyday Things" did not. It makes me think that he wanted to take his readers to the cleaners.