Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Emotional Design - Don Norman

Don Norman talks firstly about how if everything was designed to his philosophy, then everything would be usable but it would be ugly. He counters this however by saying that his life is now about beauty and sentimental qualities in products. He uses the example of the Juicy Salif by Starck, which can't even be used as a juicer, but is beautiful to look at; a Japanese cutting knife that provides pleasure through by both beauty and function, as well as a reflective pleasure. He says that he has a theory of emotion and that those three elements make up his theory. I feel that this is reflective of his analytical mind to pleasurable design.
He shows us next the example of the new Mini Cooper which he claims is extra fun to drive but everything is also easily operated within the cabin.

He then goes on to speak about the way in which people solve problems.
In depth he explains how working through anxiety or fear leads an individual to work in a very focused manner which allows work to be completed through a different part of the brain.
He contrasts this against a different work pattern which is a far more creative manner of thinking but it lacks the fear element which means work is never completed but it is creative and usually results in "outside the square", unconventional thinking.

He talks about visceral level in design, which is a subconscious element of everyday life and manifests itself in the effects that stimuli have upon a human observer. Examples are shown in things like red being the colour of heat, the shape of objects, and so on.

Behavioural elements in design are next. This is again subconscious, and this is how we will react to stimuli, such as the teapot that signals the waiter to give more water to the customers. The designer is aware of what reaction will be caused by an element of the design. Behavioural is how behaviour is affected by the design.

Reflective thinking is the last part he touches upon. Relative thinking does not affect any part of the body's movement or reactions. It is conscious and has no control - it's a "little voice" or state of consciousness.
The example of the Hummer is given - it's about an image rather than about the product itself. It's about a state of mind rather than the way of interaction between the human and the product.

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