Attractive Things Work Better

October 20th, 2010 in Home Categories by 0 Comments

Chapter 1 of ‘Emotional Design’ by D. Norman

Affect and Design

  • Stress makes it harder to figure out how things work.
  • Design manners on the occasion, context, and user’s mood.
  • Emotional reaction is important for design.
  • Usability must be equal to beauty, which is equal to function. No one is better than the other.
  • Some emotions are driven by cognition, and cognition is impacted by affect.
  • “Pleasing things work better, are easier to learn, and produce a more harmonious result.”
  • Affect is a way of learning, therefor it makes us smarter.
  • Negative affect leads to concentration, which is bad when we have a creative problem to solve.

Affect and Behavior

  • Negative affect is good when we want better concentration.
  • Positive effect allows for a more creative approach, ‘broadens the thought processes’.
  • A negative effect can make it harder to do easy tasks and positive affect makes it easier to do difficult tasks.
  • It is possible to override affective reactions (built-in responses) given time & practice.
  • Anxiety reduces distraction, but too much can hinder performance.
  • Tunnel vision can be bad, and positive affect can prevent finding a solution.

Implications Upon Design

  • Negative affect is good when distractions, bottlenecks, and irritations must be minimized.
  • “Design must not get in the way: it must be carefully tailored for the task.”
  • “The principles of good human-centered design are especially important in stressful situations.”
  • When the user feels good, they will tend to overlook design flaws.
  • Attractive things work better because the user feels better, and will ignore any bad flaws.

Beyond Beauty

  • A true beautiful product has ‘to fulfill a useful function, work well, be usable, understandable, be¬†wondrous, and be pleasurable. All these have to be met in order to have a true beautiful product.
  • Beauty / Usability = 1 (Good Design)

I agree with Norman, products must have great usability and be beautiful in order make an important impact on the user. If a product is easy to use but ugly, users will take the product for granted. If it’s beautiful but easily usable, users will assume its ‘art’ and will not pay much attention to it. By getting the balance correct, the product will be remembered for its usability and beauty. I believe that not only usability designers, but everyone in their own fields must strive for Norman’s good design idea. The only issue with this idea is that having good design normally means having a higher price, and some consumers might believe that the product is more of ‘art’ than ‘function’.

Author: ezraezra

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