Don Norman visits TANG


On September 3, 2013, Don Norman visited TANG. Don Norman shared his views about the book THE DESIGNOF EVERYDAY THINGS and the presentation of wearable products with TANG. Given growing consumerism, Don Norman expressed high expectations for TANG and offered mutual encouragement.

THE DESIGN OF EVERYDAY THINGS was written by Don Norman in 1988. Today, 25 years later, Don has something to say about it.

Don: Compared with the 25 years ago, themost prominent change is the progress of science andtechnology. I revised the book to reflect the changes that scientific and technological progress has brought in recent years, but it's still unable to describe its panorama. In fact, during the past 25 years, the rapid progress ofscience and technology hasn’t essentially changed the people, nor has cognitive psychology experienced any major changes; but the design industry has changed. For example, in the past, UI design wasn't obviously isolated from 'design' tobecome a profession, but with the development of information technology, interactiondesign and UI design have become independent industries and designers are doing different work thanbefore. In the past, people's cognition of objects depended on their concrete forms. For instance, when seeing the handle of a cup, we knew how tohold it with our hand. Today, more and more objects rely on screens and thedelivery of information on the screens. Most of the time, designers are using signals and clues to guide users to complete relevant tasks. Besides, theoriginal concept of 'affordance' of hardware products has different meanings intoday's screen-based user experiences.

Mr. Norman thinks that information presentation design for wearable devices should avoid distracting users’attention.

Don: With the development of new technology, more wearable devices have emerged, but they are affecting users’attention by offering more information. How can we avoid distracting users' attention? Letme share my feelings of using Google Glass. Facing traditional cellphone screens, we need to set aside the things we are doing and concentrate on handling things onthe cellphone. Of course, this habitual action may not be counted as an 'interruption'. But the Google Glass presents information in a rather low-profile manner. The screen is in the upper right of the field of view and offers information only when necessary. It won’t interrupt a user while he/she is doing something else and will also indicate to other people that the user is looking at the screen. From theperspective of information presentation, the heads-updisplay in my car will offer me some very useful traffic information while I am driving, such as whether I am speeding or crossing the lane divider or whether other vehicles are overtaking mine. To obtain the information doesn't require me to divert attention. I can drive safely. But, if the designer makes the heads-up display show a message such as 'you have a newe-mail' , then it's obviously a mistake. So, we must constantly think about the objectives of information presentation.

Given growing consumerism, Don Norman expressed high expectations for TANG and offered mutual encouragement.

Don: When we learned about designing at school, professionals told us that designers should abide by ethics and undertake social responsibilities. We were proud of that because what we would do in the future could make the world a better and more sustainable place. However, the reality doesn't always meet our expectations. To motivate consumers’desire for purchase, we rack our brainsevery day to design popular products. Take cellphones for example, we expect the consumers to buy one cellphone after another and to constantly spend moneyon our products. This is actually a very complex social issue, which cannot besolved by designers alone. Nevertheless, we need to maintain our sense ofsocial responsibility.

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