Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Design of Future Things

In the follow-up of Don Norman's The Design of Everyday Things comes his second book, The Design of Future Things. This book, bounces from point to point on the future of design. The high points of the book include his exploration of the definition of dialogue, automation, and augmentation. He also ties together a good deal from his other books: The Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design.

I think the most important point that Norman makes in the entire book happens in the first chapter. He relates Socrates' argument that two monologues do not create a dialogue. The two voices, Norman insists in amplifying fashion, must be in interaction. This relates to a whole host of examples in all of social interaction, whether it be human-to-human, computer-to-computer, human-to-computer, or otherwise. In every case, the designer must remember that it cannot just be a force-feeding of information or commands to the user. Latitude must be given in any series of computer interactions.

That said, also the role between automation and augmentation— which Norman brings up in chapter five. I do agree with Norman's interpretation here of automation versus augmentation. Automation should only be used in cases to speed up a process that would normally be labor-intensive if done by a human or one that would be unsightly for a human to do. In all other cases, the computer-related designs should only augment what a human rightfully should do. In this case, the augmentation can be ignored by the human user and thus not cause (or at least limit) the level of annoyance any design might create.

All in all the book was another insightful and beneficial read—save the last wacky chapter which wasn't a requirement to read (though the rules given there were good).

Posted: Brian Salato, Adam Griffin, and Brad Twitty.

1 comment:

  1. You are right about the two monologues. If I am communicating with my computer and my computer is communicating with me, but we are not paying any attention to what the other is saying, what is the point. We will need to communicate in a way that has actual results, in the future.