Friday, January 30, 2009

Everyday Designs

My shower faucet is an excellent example of how all faucets should be designed. I've never come across this until I moved in to my current apartment. Most faucets require you to mix warm and cold water yourself to find the preferred temperature, which is very annoying to have to figure out every time you want luke-warm water. With this faucet I can leave the temperature at the same place each time I use it. The only time I ever have to adjust the temperature knob is if I take a shower right after my roommate and that's because there is less hot-water. 

This next video is a perfect example of the quality designs 
that Apple has been producing for the mass consumer ever since Steve Jobs came back to the company, courtesy of The Onion.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

Every engineer or person who has anything to do with the design of products should read this book at least once. The Design of Everyday Things talks about a lot of the poorly designed everyday things that people encounter. Norman addresses many factors that contribute to a well designed product including:
  • The psychology of everyday actions
  • Knowledge in the head and in the world
  • Human error of the user
Norman also talks about four principles that he feels lead to good design:
  • Visibility
  • Good conceptual model
  • Good mapping
  • Feedback
Overall the book was a very good read. It was pretty repetitive but the information it presented was very informative and useful. Many of the concepts presented in the book seem obvious in hindsight; however, I don't think I have considered them while designing. Anyone who designs anything to be used by people should read this book and apply the principles in it so we can eliminate all the terrible products out there.