Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Getting Emotional With Donald Norman

Interesting reprint of an interview with Donald Norman...

"Earlier this year you published your new book “Emotional Design; why we love (or hate) everyday things”. About your other book “The design of everyday things” you explained that it was written out of pure frustration with products. Was “Emotional Design” a result of that last bit of frustration left from product design?

I believe that we now do understand how to design so that the result truly fits people. By “we”, I mean the design community, the design theorists (which is where I fit), and the university community of design. Lots of individual designers are still hopelessly inept. So, although there are still many bad designs in the world, I no longer think that new work is required at this point – we simply need better education. Moreover, there are now many truly excellent products. And, in any event, having worked to make products easier to use for the past 15 years, I am getting bored.

Now it is time to move the focus from making things practical (they function well, they are understandable) to products and services that are enjoyable, that give pleasure, and even fun. That is the focus of Emotional Design: to make our lives more pleasurable. In this book, I present a framework for understanding the essence of the emotional appeal of products. I still have a lot to go, however.

An interesting part in your book is in the epilogue, where you say that “we are all designers”, referring to personalization by users. C.K. Prahalad, the American/Indian management guru, points at product personalization as the way for businesses to survive. Which role do you think emotional design will have in product personalization?

We are much more emotionally attached to products for which we feel some involvement. So true personalization and customization makes a real difference. Once we have some commitment and involvement, it is ours forever. But, as I point out in the epilogue, just changing the color or other minor details will not be sufficient. The person has to make a real investment – they have to “own” the changes."   continued ...   (Via design & emotion)

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