Thursday, March 26, 2009

Emotional Design by Donald Norman

Don takes a look at emotion and design in this book. He argues the idea that in order for media to communicat better with people it needs to be able to understand our emotion and in order to do that it needs to have emotions as well. He makes references to the Reeves & Nass book The Media equation when talking about this. He stresses three levels of design: Visceral, Behavioral, and Reflective and that the best products attempt to use all three of these in its design.

This book is a lot less repetative than Future Designs and really addresses some good fundamentals. I would say it is comparable to his first book The Design of Everyday Things. I am hesitant to compare the two though because I read his first book when it was dated and it's really unfair to compare the two because when the first one was published it was very ground breaking. 

The only problem I had with this book was Norman's logic when trying to make the argument that media needs emotion. He claimed that without emotion something like the Roomba would have no "incentive" to do a better job of cleaning because it wouldn't have "pride". I thought this was a circular argument. First of all media doesn't have incentive that implies that it has free-will and a choice of whether it wants to actually do what it was designed to do. Media only does what it is programmed to do and I would hope that it is programmed to clean as best as it can. The media would have to have emotions already to make the "incentive" argument so to say media needs emotions or else they might emotionally decide to not do as good is retarded.

Also, I don't really like the idea of media having emotions to begin with. My media devices should be tools not friends. I don't want to have to deal with any kind of retarded ethical dilemma later down the line with the slavery of media devices that some nut-case (probably from PETA) proposes. Plus I already have to deal with emotional women much less adding my iPod to the list of things I don't want to see cry.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your comment on robots not needing "incentive." Robots would only need incentive if they were given the ability to NOT do what they are supposed to. All good machines, that I can think of, are good because they do what they are supposed to do without question, not because they WANT to do a good job, but because that IS their job.